At some point in time, we all fail. Some of us take failures super negatively and others use them as opportunities for growth.
I’ve been in both situations, sometimes a failure feels like the end of the world denoting my incompetency and at other times failing has really motivated me to come back stronger. Nonetheless, here are some realisations I’ve made from a bunch of recent failures.
Occasions where I failed recently:
My first YouTube video took about 7-8 takes because of video difficulties. My last YouTube video had no audio. I had to re-do it entirely. This video which I thought would do well has the worst performance yet.
Whilst these may all seem like trivial failures in comparison to others, these still meant something to me. But they have all been great learning opportunities. Here’s how I’ve changed:
I now run through a checklist in Notion (obviously) before hitting record. I now record a sample to check audio/video before proceeding with recording. I now have no expectations — if a video performs, it performs.
Failing is great, we should fail more. Here’s why and what to do when we fail.
Why is failing okay?
People that faced failures (of varying magnitudes) in their incredibly impressive careers: Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Michael Jordan, Walt Disney, Elon Musk, J.K. Rowling, Oprah Winfrey, Usain Bolt, and this list is endless. You can see where I’m going with this, every successful person is advertised as an overnight success, a genius entrepreneur, a visionary. But the truth is, a lot of these people have been working hard for years before making it to the spotlight and more importantly, they’ve all failed at some point.
Failure (however you want to define this) is not an endpoint. I take comfort in knowing the very best to have graced this planet have all failed before, but they came back stronger. To make failure an ally is to cultivate a growth mindset. However, this is where I believe most of us go wrong. We see failure as an enemy. Perhaps this has a lot to do with the picture painted by society around failure and people who fail.
How it is: success = positive event. Failure = negative event.
How it should be: success or failure = positive event.
Once you make this realisation you naturally stop fearing failure and begin to cultivate a growth mindset. A growth mindset, as Carol Dweck puts in her book Mindset, is the key to transforming your initial baseline talents or aptitudes into something several magnitudes better or more impressive, even surpassing one’s own expectations of their ability.
How do we bounce back from failure?
When Elon was asked why Tesla and Space X has been so successful, he said:
"Failure is an option here. If things are not failing you are not innovating."
If you want to thrive and see explosive changes you have to put yourself out there; you have to get comfortable with failing.
Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly. — Robert F. Kennedy
Here’s how I consider it: when we succeed, it’s easy to get complacent and think everything is going great, so I’m just going to keep doing what I do. However, when we fail, we are given the opportunity to ask some important questions.
Why did this happen? How do I prevent this from happening again? What happens next? Sure, you could just easily just give up at this point. But if you ask these questions and make an active effort to bounce back, you will only come back much stronger and hopefully not make the same mistakes twice.
Failure is only a stepping stone to success (again however you define this).
What do you think? Let me know, hit me up on socials. 👋🏾
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