An old proverb says that the difference between a smart person and a wise one is that a smart one learns from their mistakes, and a wise one learns from the mistakes of others.
It is more common to focus on initiatives that have gone well rather than those that didn’t quite go to plan. When innovating and trying new things, it is inevitable that some will not work. The temptation is often to focus on the ones that succeed and to brush the failures under the carpet; however some of the most valuable learnings can come from those initiatives that didn’t work.
Failure and success is two sides of the same coin. Failure is character building without any semblance of doubt. Nobody likes to fail and I have never attended any sales meeting or review where failures are applauded or supported. Is it any wonder that people are naturally hesitant or anxious to try their hand at new things or worse, try anything at all?
For some reason we are so wired to accept that blame has to be appropriated in case of failure. “Who did or didn’t” that we tend to over think so much that it eventually leads to a self-destructive road of depression and work related stress. We all have friends that claim that failure does not affect them, and that is great, well done indeed. But even the most positive of personalities has doubts now and then. The art is to become better and more proactive, not to remove ourselves from scenarios that could be seen as too risky.
So what can we do about it? We have two things to manage: only one within our control, our own thoughts nd beyond our control circumstances that could affect the decision or project. If we can’t deal with failure, however, can we deal with the success? These two will never be mutually exclusive.
So I call on us all to explore failures to understand what happened, acknowledge weaknesses, seek advice from others, welcome suggestions, and stay humble. There are 54 billion Google searches every month, the top 10 In-Demand jobs in 2018 did not exist in 2015, technical information is doubling every year and 70,000 new websites are created every 60 seconds; we have to stay nimble.
I challenge you have the courage to fail. Because if you just keep doing what you’ve always done … you will be gone.