Failure and it’s misconceptions

First thing I think of when I think about failure is a baby learning to walk. They slowly hold on to something and stand up for a few seconds and then they decide to let go and walk towards their mom and dad and then fall and there is still a big smile on their face.

When we are babies we fall down a million times before we learn how to walk and each time our parents give us a reassuring smile and push us to try again. So why should it be any different when we are a bit older and learning to be independent?

Recently I have been thinking a lot about failure, about falling down and how very misrepresented it is. Families guard their children from making mistakes, school systems teach that there is only one right answer and that making mistakes makes you a failure. But without mistakes one cannot learn. Yes as human beings we can learn from others mistakes but its the mistakes we make ourselves that teach and mold us.

Keith Mobley in an article titled “Failure Teaches success” writes “Fortunately my early mentors taught me to use failure, no matter how serious or minor, as a learning tool and a platform to build upon.” How many times can you say you have used failure as a learning tool?

Our first misconception of failure lies in thinking it\’s a bad thing, a negative that should be avoided at all costs. Of course failure is a negative but it\’s a negative that is very much used to produce positives. The more failures we encounter while working on a certain thing the more ways we know not to do that thing.

The second misconception of failure is that learning from failures is simple.

“Most executives I’ve talked to believe that failure is bad (of course!). They also believe that learning from it is pretty straightforward:” writes Amy Edmondson for the Harvard Business Review. You can\’t simply say okay I failed doing this tell yourself you won\’t do that thing and move on. Well you can but it\’s not very efficient in fact it\’s very counterintuitive.

Take a look at Steve Jobs. We know of all the marketing genius that Steve Jobs is but what most people don\’t know is that it was failure that forged the great big marketing genius of our generation. In 1985 Steve Jobs was fired from Apple. During his time away from Apple Steve Jobs funded Pixar and helped reinvent them, he founded NeXT. He worked so hard on both companies each day with such passion and heart and made sure that he worked on matters that moved him and he was passionate about. It was at that time that Steve Jobs “found his heart for work”. Most people would have let that moment of failure define let that be their downfall but not him. Steve Jobs took that moment of failure and changed that to a point in his life into a learning curve, a point in which he learned and taillight himself the things he understood he lacked.

“Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work alAnd the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven\’t found it yet, keep looking. Don\’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you\’ll know when you find it.”- Steve Jobs

It\’s important for us to learn to properly analyze and understand our mistakes. It\’s not about just not repeating the mistake or failure but it\’s about understanding the manner in which we failed and taking calculated steps to train ourselves to stray away from the disciplines and/or mannerisms that lead us to failure.

I have failed so many times in life I have fallen so many times and each time I have treated failure differently. I have let failure get the most of me, I have persevered through my failure and I have taken time to learn from my failures and come back out the other side. If you ask me today I want to keep failing I want ro keep making mistakes that I can keep learning from because I consider myself a chronic learner and my teacher failure.