Why failure is good
By Terry Brock for Business Journals
Shark Tank star, Robert Herjavec, has seen and gone through a lot in life. He says, “Success isn't measured on days when the sun shines.” Anyone can be happy and joyful when things are going right. It takes the best of the best to forge through the tough days and learn from them.
I believe that failure is not really failure if you learn from it, improve and get back up again.
We learn from difficult times and difficult people. Welcome failure when it comes as it is often a much better teacher than success.
If you are battle-hardened and tested it means you will do much better. Got problems? Good. That means you’re alive. Learn from failures. Learn from people who disappoint and hurt you. Learn to not only stay away from those specific people, but learn to catch those personality traits that could be in others you meet later on down the road.
Failure is a wonderful corrective system. It is a notice that something went wrong or is going wrong. That is a strong signal to change. Study what is going wrong. Study what is going right even in the midst of a tough situation. School is in session for you today.
Failure provides the fertilizer to grow in the future. I grew up in farm country in the Midwest. I saw a lot of farms and fertilizer was a component in the farming process. Fertilizer can smell pretty bad. However, you don’t have to stick your nose in it and inhale deeply. Just use it to fertilize the crops for your future harvest.
One of the best traits of failure is that we can learn from it. You want to make it your job to find out why something went wrong and learn from it. I like what Nassim Nicholas Taleb says in his book, Antifragile. We don’t just want to be robust. That is nice, as far as it goes. However, he presents the case that we do best when we learn and adapt from set-backs, disappointments and even disasters (as long as we remain alive!). Develop the ability to become better, not just recover, from failures.
It is easy to want to give up when you fail. This is human nature. Every successful person had setbacks and even some failures in life.
In a way it is like Friedrich Nietzsche’s famous adage, “That which does not kill me makes me stronger.” And yes, the real trick is to avoid that which can kill you! Become stronger because of the failures you experience.
You have to maintain an attitude that helps you learn from failure particularly when you’re in the midst of the ouch, the pain, and the feeling of wanting to give up.
I love the way the late great Thomas J. Stanley, author of the series, “The Millionaire Next Door,” put it: “Even steel cannot be hardened unless it’s hammered, and it’s no different with people. Self-made millionaires report that degrading evaluations and comments by certain authority figures played a role in their ultimate success in life. Hammering built the antibodies they needed to deflect criticisms and temper their resolve.”
If you're going through one of “those” weeks and feeling the pain, let me speak on behalf of many fellow travelers in the world of sales, entrepreneurship, and the “we poured our guts out and got kicked” crowd: Hang in there! Don’t give up now. Push through this and learn from it. Failure can be good. It is a great instructor. You’ve paid a high price to learn from this instructor, now make the most of it.
Let me know how you made it through this one and let’s use those lessons to help others in the future. I look forward to hearing from you!
All the best,
Terry Brock, MBA, CSP, CPAE
Member, Professional Speaker Hall of Fame
Certified Speaking Professional
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