Two weeks ago I wrote a blog entitled, “Why Failure Should Be An Option“. Since then, as crazy as it might sound, I have focused intensely on failure. I have looked back at my past failures, as well as those of others, to see what I could learn.
I have failed as much as anyone, but at the same time; I have not put myself in the position to fail in any major area. I have generally played it safe, avoiding the risk and steering towards the sure thing. In doing this, I have probably missed many opportunities along the way.
In John Maxwell’s book, Failing Forward, he addresses the subject of failure head on. He points out that the difference between average people and achieving people is their perception of and their response to failure. He points out that failure is not a single event; it is a process.
Maxwell tells how people are too quick to isolate events in their life and label them as failure. Sometimes we need to see them in the context of the bigger picture. He lists seven things that failure is not; they are as follows:
1. Failure is not avoidable. – You are bound to fail sooner or later.
2. Failure is not an event, but a process. Success is not a destination; it is the journey you take.
3. Failure is not objective. – You are the only person who can label your actions a failure.
4. Failure is not the enemy – It takes adversity to achieve success. It is like fertilizer.
5. Failure is not irreversible.
6. Failure is not a stigma – They are not permanent markers. Make each failure a step towards success.
7. Failure is not final. – Failure is simply a price we pay to achieve success
Henry Ford once said, “Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently.”
We must change our perception of failure. It is an opportunity. Without it, we cannot achieve true success.
When asked, rarely do you hear someone like Warren Buffett talk about how glad he is that he played it safe. He has utterly failed in many areas, and that is why he has been wildly successful – because he failed forward.