The Success of Failure: 5 Ways To Make Failing Work In Your Favor

Very often something will go wrong. Horribly wrong. Embarrassingly wrong. In my case a failure for me looks and feels something like that classic moment from the Wizard of Oz...

Failure has a simple premise - something hasn't gone the way you expected. Therein lies the rub. Expectation. Since we can't predict the outcome of our trials with one hundred percent accuracy - we create an outcome to satisfy this uncertainty. Usually it's an unblemished expectation. And when the actual outcome doesn't match with the one in our minds it's considered a deviation. It's what you do with this deviation that's important. Just because something doesn't fit our ideal outcome doesn't mean it's a failure. But if careful attention isn't paid it might just seem that way. So here are some ways I've found to make failures work in your favor:

Fail for few

I've learned quite a bit from my close circle of supportive friends - only because I'm content with failing in front of them. See my post about practice and why it's so important to have this "brain trust". But the basic idea is to allow yourself to be vulnerable for a small group of trusted colleagues because through their constructive honesty you'll be able to make lots of mistakes with very little risk.

Acknowledge it

Don't try to hide the bad things. Especially from yourself. If you acknowledge your forthcoming's it's easier to use them to your advantage. Nietzsche says it best "If only we were fruitful fields, we would at bottom let nothing perish unused and see in every event, thing and man welcome manure." The successful ones acknowledge the manure and use it for their garden.

Celebrate it 

Once you've acknowledged and accepted your mistakes, reflect on the effort and hard work that when into it. It's easy to blame yourself but often we lose sight of the effort it took to get there.

Quick! Move on!

We loathe then linger. Don't! One of the ways to let those flops get the best of you is by doing nothing! The time between trying again matters. The longer you wait the heavier the failures will weigh on you.

Share them 

Why not? We share everything else! This doesn't mean everyone needs to hear about it. Only the ones close to you. For clients and business partners and the like - it's probably best to omit the worst ;)

We often don't try things because we're afraid that by doing so we'll fail and become vulnerable, imperfect, and weak. But in fact the opposite is true. We evolve. Something we've been good at for centuries now. We define, simplify and become better to hopefully one day get close enough to that perfect expectation we set for ourselves. 

I am always doing that which I cannot do, in order that I may learn how to do it.
— Pablo Picasso