Nobody plans to fail. No body tries to make mistakes. But whether we like or not or want it or not, we all fail and failure and making mistakes is a part of life. No success is gained without failing first. All successful people have failed miserably multiple times until they finally got it right.
We all make wrong decisions or we all don’t make it when we baldy want to. But the only time we really fail is when we don’t learn from what that mistake or failure was trying to teach us. We only fail when we don’t evaluate the bad experience or the mistake we have made and we just keep repeating the same mistake over and over.That is when we truly fail!
The reality is we need to be prepared to fail and make mistakes because whether we want it to not, it will happen! We need to have a strategy to use the lesson from that mistake right after it happens.
Being open to failure allows us to take our chances and try new things. It will allow us to get out of our limitations and our comfort zone and trust ourselves. We will feel more confident of our capabilities when we allow ourselves to dare, to explore and discover.
Dr. John C. Maxwell, my mentor, recommends us to adopt the following traits, if we want to use mistakes and failure as stepping stones to reach our goals:
1. OPTIMISM. FIND THE BENEFIT IN EVERY BAD EXPERIENCE.
Thomas Edison redefined the failures in his experiments as “10,000 ways that won’t work.” He expected failure and counted it as one of the costs of finding a way that would work. By finding the benefit in the failure, he was able to keep attempting something great. Optimism is not limited to a few people as a personality trait. Optimism is a choice. And while it doesn’t guarantee immediate positive results, it does result in higher motivation and stronger character.
2. RESPONSIBILITY. CHANGE YOUR RESPONSE TO FAILURE BY ACCEPTING RESPONSIBILITY.
When we fail at something, it’s easy to blame someone or something else. Perhaps the circumstances or the people that we worked with. But failure is a learning opportunity. If I blame someone else, I’m just cheating myself out of that lesson. Responsibility is more important than reputation. And it tends to lead to reward, which can lead to more responsibility. Your willingness to take responsibility marks you as someone who’s mature and can be trusted to learn from the failure and keep trying.
3. RESILIENCE. SAY GOODBYE TO YESTERDAY.
The ability to move on from failure is key to continuing to attempt great things. The mind can only focus on so much, so if we’re still too focused on what we did wrong, we can’t give all of our attention to attempting to do things right.
These traits will help us overcome obstacles and make us even stronger.
In contrary, we can obstruct our path to success if we are too comfortable in what we know and are used to and if we are scared to change. We will destroy our chances of getting ahead in life if we stick to the past and fear the unknown.
Here are some of the traits of those who can’t move on in life and stick to what is more comfortable:
- Comparison. They compare themselves to others and are discouraged to try or think your problems are bigger than others.
- Rationalization. Convincing yourself and others that you have good reasons for not getting over past hurts and mistakes. Believing that those who encourage you “just don’t understand.”
- Isolation. Feeling sorry for yourself and not dealing with your issues, or isolating yourself and not allowing other to help you.
- Regret. Feeling stuck and hopeless or trying in vain to fix things that cannot be changed.
- Bitterness. Feeling like a victim and blaming others for negative outcomes.
4. INITIATIVE. TAKE ACTION AND FACE YOUR FEAR.
When we make mistakes and then consider learning from that mistake or loss and trying again, we feel fear and uncertainty. Facing the unknown is not easy and we can simply come up with a list of excuses or worries to retry.
But the act of worrying doesn’t help us at all in accomplishing our goals. It will only stop us and take away our power. Also, just believing that failure can be good isn’t enough to help us succeed. What we need to do is to evaluate the experience and learn from it and then move forward. Only then do we learn from our mistakes and make progress.
John Maxwell calls the evaluated failure, a successful failure is a failure that we respond to correctly: by finding the good, taking responsibility, moving on, and taking action.
So, now try to ask yourself what would you do next time when you didn’t get the result you wanted or you failed at it? How do you respond to the bad experience?