If it weren’t okay to fail, none of us would ever learn how to walk. Every baby taking its first steps will fall. The reason we all manage to stay upright eventually is that we learn something new about balance every time we take a successful step. Failure is essential to growth. The trick is not to be afraid of it but to embrace it as a lesson you need to learn.
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It may not feel much like it, but each failure is moving you closer to your goals. Here’s why it’s okay to fail and how you can learn from it.
Being Afraid of Failure Stops Your Progress
When you’re afraid of failure, you stop moving forward. You play it safe and don’t take chances. Playing it safe will lead to a life of mediocrity but knowing that it’s okay to fail will help you achieve your dreams. Risk takers will get their chance in the spotlight.
Failure Helps You Understand Yourself
When you sit down and ponder your latest failure, you will always discover new things about yourself. The loss will highlight what you need to do better next time. Maybe you need to study harder, or need better tools, but you won’t know until you fail. How can you truly know yourself if you haven’t tested yourself in the aftermath of failure?
The media loves to portray overnight success stories as if they happened overnight. However, most only serve to create the illusion that you need to get lucky or stumble upon a great idea to be a success.
Fortunately, this is not the case. Walt Disney suffered through many setbacks, and it was the theft of the copyright to one of his creations that led him towards creating Mickey Mouse. Even the mighty Apple had its fair share of failures. Remember the Apple Newton and the PowerMac G4 Cube? However, for every Apple product that bombs, Apple learns something new about what the public wants.
How to Learn from Your Failures
All the great people in history racked up failure after failure before they managed to get it right. Ninety-nine (or it could have been 10,000 depending on the source) failures moved Thomas Edison inch by inch towards his first successful electric lightbulb. Each time his light fizzled out, he knew a little more about what wasn’t working, and it gave him new ideas to try. Adopting a mindset of using failure as a learning tool will bring you closer to achieving your goals.
Analyze the failure by asking yourself:
- How did I fail?
- How much influence did I have in the failure?
- How can I turn the failure into a success?
- What steps do I need to change for next time?
Be brutally honest about your answers, analyze them carefully, and then start working on the solution.
The only path to success is through your failure, so don’t be afraid of falling. Keep looking forward to the lessons you can learn through each unsuccessful attempt and be sure to keep your eyes on the prize. When you look back, you will see that each failure is a stepping stone to the person you are today.
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