This is a guest post by Philip Murphy.
Put simply, failure hurts..
Everyone has failed at
some point, but it’s less about the failure itself
and more about how the person who has failed picks themselves up, dusts off that failure and gets back to work.
Go down a list of great innovators, thinkers,
artists, athletes, Hollywood stars and public
figures and you’ll see a Who’s Who of people
who used failure as a driving force on their way
to re-shaping the American culture and lifestyle.
People like Henry Ford, Abraham Lincoln, Albert
Einstein, Steven Spielberg, Michael Jordan and
Elvis Presley all achieved greatness along
avenues paved with failure.
What each of those people took from their
failures was different, but here are six lessons
that anyone can take from their missed
attempts at success.
1. Failure does not actually exist.
Usually, things don’t work out for a reason.
Failures are a natural method for someone to
move toward a better path. What someone may
perceive as failure is likely just a lesson they’ll
learn on their road to success. It only becomes
a true failure if they don’t take ownership of
mistakes and attempt to learn from those
errors or do the right things to fix them.
With this in mind, failure is actually a means to
an end rather than simply being the end. Failure
then, means changing direction.
2. The learning process is
Someone who has failed is best served by
exploring the reasons why and being open to
learning what they could have done better.
Once they’ve done that and taken steps to
improve their performance rather than feeling
defeated, they can recommit to trying again.
One of the worst side-effects of failure is
losing the desire and the courage to try again.
Effective learning can only be done when those
without ego have the long view in mind and stay
connected to why they started along their
current path in the first place.
3. Taking chances is the key
A famous Air Jordan commercial featuring “His
Airness” himself once stated: “I’ve missed
more than 9,000 shots in my career. I’ve lost
almost 300 games. Twenty six times, I’ve been
trusted to take the game winning shot and
missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again
in my life. And that is why I succeed.”
The point Michael Jordan is articulating is pretty
simple. With great risk, comes great reward. If
you never make a real attempt, you’ll never
succeed. Instead, you’ll wonder what might
have been if you hadn’t been so afraid to fail.
4. You are capable of more than you think.
Odds are, you are much more of an expert on
something than you realize. People tend to
forget about how much they really know
concerning their topic of expertise because
they get caught up in daily life. But, if
challenged to write it all down, they tend to
know a lot more than they realize.
5. Perseverance is an asset.
Failure is going to happen, but this does not
mean failure translates to success.
Perseverance is the engine that makes the
journey from failure to success possible,
because when someone fails it doesn’t
automatically mean they won’t try something
else that doesn’t work. Failing again is always
possible, after which perseverance is the only
thing that will see them through the next rinse
and repeat cycle.
When it’s all said and done, someone who fails
has to own their mistakes and move forward
with a focus on improving things they did that
were successful in some way rather than focus
solely on avoiding things that contributed to
6. You are not alone.
Failure can feel like a lonely experience, but all
it takes is tracking down someone who has
found even a modicum of success to find a
person who understands the struggle of coping
Famous examples of this can be found
practically everywhere you turn, but one story
that stands out is a man who played a big role
in our daily lives.
Thomas Edison was once told by his grade
school teachers that he was “too stupid to
learn anything.” He was fired from his first two
jobs due to a lack of productivity. In the
process of inventing the lightbulb, Edison made
hundreds of unsuccessful designs before finding
the one that eventually revolutionized the way
people live their lives to this day.
Edison addressed failure often, both in his life
and in his words. There is perhaps no better
conclusion to this reading than a quote from
the man whose list of innovations includes the
telegraph, paraffin paper, the phonograph and,
of course, the electric lighting we rely so
“Many of life’s failures are from people who did
not realize how close they were to success
when they gave up.”
About The Author
Philip Murphy works at Bisk Education with the
University of St. Thomas in Minnesota. He
writes about topics relating to Law Enforcement
Leadership and FBI Jobs. You can read his
tweets by checking out @burgseo.