The past few Wednesdays we’ve talked about the unfortunate fact that many leaders are failing in their positions and as a result they’re failing their companies. Those who see failure as the end-all, be-all are missing out on a big portion of what failure is. Failure isn’t the end. It’s simply an indication that you need to try something different. You’ve heard from plenty of people that you need to try new things; from vegetables as a kid to drinks as an adult, people are always suggesting new things for us to try. It’s good to try new things because new experiences give us more knowledge and we all know that knowledge is power.
I’m not sure who decided failure was evil, but that person has ruined a lot of lives. What do I mean? Well, by declaring failure as evil we’ve been given a direct challenge to who we are: people who aren’t perfect. If we’re not perfect how can we be expected to not make the occasional mistake or have the occasional failure?
What we need to start remembering is that failure is a natural part of life, just like thunderstorms and snow, birth and death. There is no way to get around these things, we’re all going to die one day and it always snows somewhere in the world, so why are we trying so hard to not fail?
There are a few things we can do. First we have to accept that failures will happen. Second, we have to stop jumping on people as soon as they fail. Failure feels bad enough, do we need to make it worse? Finally, we have to look at other people’s failures closer because if we learn from their failures there’s less of a chance of us repeating that failure. Will you choose to see failure as a bad thing or a good thing this week?
“An inventor fails 999 times, and if he succeeds once, he’s in. He treats his failures simply as practice shots.” Charles Kettering