WHY WE NEED TO FAIL MORE
Failure. We avoid it. We cover it up. We can be downright terrified of failure and we are often
willing to do everything we can in order to avoid it. Yet many of our greatest moments of
growth and learning in life, come out of our biggest failures. We often learn so much more
through our failures than our successes. Look at your life. When did your major surges of
development happen? Did you grow and learn the most from a string of successes, or from
your deepest failures? I am willing to bet that your greatest waves of success were preceded by some of your darkest hours when you fell flat on your face.
Failure is a part of life. EVERYONE does it. The ones who do it the most, often have the
greatest success. How can we learn to embrace failure for our own good?
Here are 12 reasons to allow failure to inspire you, to use it to your advantage, and to give
yourself permission to fail more. BY BEING OPEN TO FAIL:
1. YOU GET THE UGLY STUFF OUT OF THE WAY FAST. If you are like 99% of people, the
first time you try something or pick up a new skill, you will not be proficient in it.
Playing a new sport, learning a new language, or starting a business for the first time are
all things that are not likely to be pretty at first. You will make mistakes, you may look
like a fool, you will fail in the process in some way, and you will get better. Everyone has
to go through the learning curve when you are doing something new. It’s best to get
out there and be willing to make a lot of mistakes in the beginning. Your learning curve
will increase dramatically. The more you are open to fail, the faster you will get out of
that ugly stage and into success mode.
2. YOU SEE WHERE YOU ARE AT. We need to honestly be able to look at ourselves in the
mirror verses avoiding it. By being willing to take a risk, make mistakes, and put yourself
out there, you receive more accurate feedback as to where you are truly at. When you
hide and attempt to avoid failure by never getting out there, you will miss seeing where
you are at in life and you may never know who you can truly become. Replace your fear
of failure by FOMO (fear of missing out).
3. YOU THROW CRITICS TO THE WAYSIDE. When you begin to give yourself permission to
fail, the critics are unable to dictate your life. This includes the harsh judgement from
the self-proclaimed “experts”; from those who sit on the sidelines not doing anything
and judge everyone else who is doing something; or even from the pestering inner critic
in your head. By being willing to make mistakes, the voices of judgement from others
and yourself will fade into the background.
4. YOU EXTEND COMPASSION TO YOURSELF AND OTHERS. When you can see failure as a positive thing, and know that EVERYBODY does it in some form, you will have more
compassion and empathy for both yourself and others. Perfection is unattainable. You
can now view mistakes and shortcomings as a necessary process of development. You
will realize we are all on a journey and become more accepting of yourself and others.
5. YOU CAN DISCOVER THE NEXT GREAT THING OR NEW RELATIONSHIPS. Sometimes the road of mistakes and failing forward can end up being like an exciting treasure hunt.
Your failures can lead you to another clue. This one thing that you were intending may
not have worked out, but because you were taking action, it led you to something
greater in the process. Had you not gone down this road and failed, you may never
have discovered another unique and amazing new path. While making mistakes we can
also meet incredible people that we may not have, had we not taken a risk. Sometimes
the people we meet on this path can become lifelong friends or partners and will join us
on a better venture down the road.
6. YOU SEE YOUR BLIND SPOTS. You don’t know what you don’t know. Our failures are a
great way of exposing what was hidden from the surface. When you can take an honest
look and own how you may have played a part in this failure, you can discover your
blind spots and take the humble position to learn and change.
7. YOU CAN LEARN MORE. When you decide to learn from your failures you are taking on
some form of responsibility. This is very empowering. Essentially you are saying that
you can and will do things differently next time. This is very different from blaming and
looking at your failures from a helpless, victim, point of view. In coming from a position
of learning from your failures, you have created ownership, buy-in, and self-
empowerment. We can all learn more through our experiences if we choose to.
8. YOU ARE IN ACTION MODE. Our actions are what truly bring results and success. If you
are frozen in your actions due to fear of failure you will limit yourself. When you are out
there taking action; and when you continue taking enough action, you will learn, grow,
change, and see success. You reap what you sow. Action is the sowing process that will
allow you to reap your rewards. You have to be willing to take action, with all the
possibilities and potential failures. In some areas you may not see results of your
efforts. Most areas take a great deal of time to see results and we must fail our way
forward to reap the best harvest. Usually after paying the price, you will start to reap
more than you’ve sown. Wayne Gretzky’s motto was, “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.”
9. YOU DISCOVER THAT FAILURES ARE USUALLY NOT CATASTROPHIC. Our mind’s
perception often makes mountains out of mole hills. We believe that if we fail, it will be
life-altering and catastrophic. We will be mocked and shut out of society for life, and
that our life as we know it, will be over. This is why so many people try to avoid doing
things they may potentially fail in. The reality of our failures are rarely as big of a deal as
we make them out to be in our minds. When we take our failures, learn from them, and
allow them to transform us, in hindsight we can truly look at our failures as stepping
stones, turning points, and blessings.
10. YOU DEVELOP OPTIMISM AND COURAGE. Courageously pushing forward is one of the best ways to recover from failure. It takes a certain amount of bravery to dust yourself
off from your mistakes and to preserver in going for what you want. This is a choice of
how to make your failures serve you. The more we fail, the more resilient we can
become. We develop a tenacity, a hope and optimism that it WILL work out and we
become better in the process.
11. YOU KEEP REGRETS AT BAY. It is more likely you will have regrets for the chances you
never took and for playing small in life, than it is to regret trying and failing. Regrets are
often about the unknowns. “Maybe I could have been great at …” “I wonder how
different life would have been if I …” These people will never know because they never
tried. When you put yourself out there and allow for the possibility of failure, you will
know if this was to be a new path, a dead end, or a learning experience. By not allowing
a fear of failure to dictate your life, you keep the regrets of inaction at bay.
12. YOU HAVE MORE TO OFFER TO OTHERS – Who do people look to for advice? For
example, would you rather get financial advice from someone who has won the lottery
or obtained a huge inheritance; or would you rather get assistance from someone who
has failed, worked their way out of financial duress and is now enjoying success? People
are searching. You have more to offer to a broken world because of what you have
learned through your failures than you do if you have only ever known smooth sailing.
How do you view your past failures?
What are the lessons and the gifts you can now take with you?
I encourage you to go out there, start before you think you’re ready, do something you think
you can’t, and fail forward marvelously!