The Paradox of Failure

Human beings have an unhealthy relationship with failure.  We do everything possible to avoid failure and ensure success.  That is healthy.  

The problem is that we know that we cannot generate success 100% of the time no matter how hard we try.  So, how do we deal with failure when it inevitably occurs?

“Success has many fathers, while failure is an orphan.”- English proverb

Not very well.  As the proverb above indicates, we run away from it, rationalize why we are not to blame and distance ourselves from it.  The paradox is that we do not learn from the mistake, if we do not wrestle with failure.  As a result, we end up making it more likely that the failure repeats itself.

So, how do we learn, while still working hard to succeed and not attract failure?  We embrace the value that failure has for our personal learning.

“One of the reasons people stop learning is that they become less and less willing to risk failure.”- John Gardner, Author of Excellence and Self-Renewal

Once we see value in our failures, we can allow ourselves to sit with each failure and learn the lessons necessary to generate future success.

In commenting on the process of perfecting the light bulb, Thomas Edison- “I didn’t fail ten thousand times.  I successfully eliminated ten thousand materials and combinations that didn’t work.”

So, The next time that you make a mistake remember that something valuable awaits you.  Reframe the failure in your mind as feedback.  Identify the learnings from it, and, then, improve your approach to get better results next time.

Just my opinion.  What do you think?  Let me know in the comments.

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#Failure #Mistakes #Learning #Success

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