Failure is a learning tool. Thomas Edison failed a thousand times before he invented the light bulb. Failure is trying to do things others have not considered. It is a temporary byproduct of creativity. It is challenging the learning process. It is experiential education at work. The real winners in life tolerate failure and the agony it produces. Success is achieved by those who are willing to take risk and lose.
Many people choose to engage in occupations and activities that are safe and conventional. They do not deliver satisfaction, fulfillment or joy in living. Their real failure is failing to move in the directions of their dreams.
“If everything you do works, you are not trying hard enough.”
“I want to find people who have had to work hard and who have learned from their failures. Perseverance is no guarantee you’ll succeed, but without it, it’s almost guaranteed you won’t”
Steve Case, CEO of America on Line
Bouncing Back From Failure
Do you see the possibilities of an idea, project or goal? Are you experiencing barriers that prevents fulfillment? With every idea, there are barriers, hundreds of them, if not more.
If you vision something that is different from everyone else, there are two reasons, you have an idea that few have considered or it is not practical. How do you tell good ideas from bad one’s, research and listening to people’s reasons why it won’t work? As a rule, no one will support an original idea until there is sufficient evidence that it is practical. Even when proving it is practical, people may reject it. Fifty years after the light bulb was invented, some people still rejected it. You have to do all the legwork to find evidence. If you find evidence, skills and resources must be acquired at the same time everyone is telling you the idea is dumb. This is a very difficult barrier to overcome. You see the possibilities and potential of a project while everyone else sees the risk and barriers. Also note, there is no success where research, facing up to pros and cons, is not extensive. Evaluate negative opinions to stay on the right track. Without negative opinions, it is easy to stray off course. The original concept of the light bulb was a dumb idea.
Negative opinions can discourage one to give up. For this reason, it becomes necessary to limit exposure of the project to people who can help, even if they disapprove. Even a select group will not see the potential until you succeed. When you do succeed, others will no longer see the barriers, they are gone, they will want to know how you did it.
What if the idea turns into a total failure? You learned a lot and next time you may get it right and succeed. No achiever has arrived without failure.
Most franchise, copying ideas and get-rich-quick schemes can be deadly traps. They come with high approval rating and no negative opinions. Their success is praised while the facts may be distorted. People believe what they want to, and easy success is what we want to hear. For this reason, there is little independent research. Lack of proper research leads to disaster. What if the fantastic project turns into total failure? What does it feel like to be a sucker? Buying into a promotion is like playing the lottery, there is no way to learn how to buy a winning lottery ticket.
Failure is a learning tool. Our first reaction to failure is to blame anyone/anything but ourselves. If we perceive others are to blame, then there is nothing we can do to correct the problem. We cannot change people’s personalities, neither can they change ours. If we assume responsibility, then we can analyze what went wrong and take corrective action. This is the art of bouncing back from failure.
Failure is discouraging, it drains energy and resources, but it forces us to do things right. Failure separates those who think they want success from those who are determined to win. Failure narrows the playing field. The first people out are those that blame others, next out are those who lost interest. The weak go first. The strong learn to hang in there and keep bouncing back until they win.
Sometimes failure is telling us we are going in the wrong direction. Here’s the dilemma. If we give up, is it because we were going in the wrong direction or because we gave up? The only way to tell is to abandon the project or put it to rest for a time. Very often, this is forced on us because we are out of money or resources. When the mind is free of pressures, realistic planning emerges. This lull was not wasted, it had great benefit, it is the art of redirection. When you try again, chances are you will get it right. New outlook’s is the result of bouncing back from failure.
The Desire to Fail
For some reason, man has a natural desire to fail. This desire is difficult to identify because it is fulfilled in subtle ways. For example: People will max-out credit cards on trivia, creating debts that makes it impossible to fulfill their deepest dreams. They gamble when they know the odds are against them.
A habit of success requires the ability to recognize elements that destroy. The man that makes $30,000 fears risk. The man who makes $1,000,000 accepts risk. In the early stages, everyone in subtle ways fears risk and failure. Fears, whatever they are, must be faced up too and dealt with. Fantasizing can help accomplish this by creating a burning desire that is more powerful than fear.
Leaders, who demand control over others, are teaching them to fail and ultimately themselves. It is easy to control people who accept the belief that they are failures. In this situation, the motivation tool is reward and punishment. The intent may be to motivate people to cooperate, but very often the results remind people they are failures and many accept this as fact. Disciplinary action means internal motivation has not worked and external motivation is reverted to. In business, the long-term results could be deadly. Self-fulfilling prophecy takes over.