Growing up, I always thought failing was a bad thing. No one wanted to fail. It was something I avoided or kept secret if it did happen. As I study more and more successful people, I realize that this type of thinking has held me back tremendously from reaching my full potential.
Let me explain…
I thought personal excellence was all about gaining successes and avoiding failures. This meant choosing activities that had high success rates. This resulted in:
Staying Within My Comfort Zone
When you try new things, you have a very high chance of failure. How many things have I avoided because I didn’t want to look stupid or thought I would be bad at it? It is no secret that the only way to grow is by doing new things and to step out of your comfort zone even one of our most famous scientists, Albert Einstein, once said, “Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new”. Mistakes are not so bad after all.
Getting Upset When I Failed
No matter how hard I try to prevent it, there were still situations where I failed and when that happened, I was pretty hard on myself. I made the mistake of thinking that my failures reflect who I am so when I failed, it was because I was no good. I realize now that failure is nothing but feedback and that it is a pre-requisite of success so now when I fail, I know I am one step closer to achieving my outcome.
Keeping My Failures a Secret
This one was the worst. Anytime I failed at something, I would hide it and then pretend it never happened. I didn’t investigate it any further, never talked to anyone about it and tried to avoid it altogether. This attitude held me back because I never learned from my mistakes. Failures are an excellent opportunity to find out how you can improve and usually all you have to do is ask. Samuel Smiles was spot on when he said, “We learn wisdom from failure much more than from success. We often discover what will do, by finding out what will not do”.
Embrace failure. Michael Jordan does.
Here is a transcript of the video:
“I’ve missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot, and missed. I failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”
Robert Chen is the founder of Embrace Possibility and author of The Dreams to Reality Fieldbook. He helps people who feel stuck move forward by guiding them to see other possibilities for their lives. He specializes in working with high performers get to the next level. If you're going through a tough time right now, check out Robert's article on How to Feel Better Right Away and if you're having trouble getting what you want out of life, check out How to Always Achieve Your Goals.
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