Have you ever heard the saying, “Never a failure, always a lesson”? It doesn’t roll easily off the tongue, but it’s telling yourself. Successful people like to make it their mantra. They embrace something that many of us try to avoid at all costs. They don’t set out to fail, but they’re not afraid of that option.
It turns out that failure really should be an option. But, let’s be clear about what’s meant here. No one should ever want to fail. If it should happen, though, push aside the disappointment long enough to extract the useful aspects. It didn’t work.
Unless you’re a diehard Woody Allen fan, you’ve got to admit that the prolific movie maker has produced his share of flops. Guess what? Woody Allen is perfectly okay with that. “If you’re not failing every now and again,” he explains, “it’s a sign you’re not doing anything very innovative.”
Henry Ford agrees. “Failure,” he explained, “is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently.”
Mistakes Are Bad Only If You Fail To Learn From Them
That’s the takeaway from our movie- and car-making friends. It’s not about the mistakes you make; it’s what you do afterwards that counts. Not every mistake leads to failure, but all mistakes are educational.
How can you learn – what is there to learn – if you never fail? Inventor Thomas Edison had a notorious failure rate. Good thing he didn’t let that get to him, or you might be reading this by candlelight. “I have not failed 10,000 times,” he once said. “I’ve successfully found 10,000 ways that will not work.”
Was Edison crazy? Crazy like a fox, maybe. You probably haven’t heard of many – or any – of his failures. Edison refused to dwell on them. Successful people take Edison’s attitude to heart. They don’t care to fail, but they look for what will help them make better future decisions instead of giving up.
Negative + Negative = Positive
- A failed vacuum tube project led to the creation of the microwave oven.
- Penicillin was discovered because a Petri dish containing Staphylococcus was left near an open window.
- The inkjet printer was invented because an engineer accidentally put a hot soldering iron down on his pen, and moments later it ejected the ink.
Not all mistakes or failures can be turned around in such a spectacular fashion, but enough of them have over time to prove that it’s better to prepare for bumps in the road than not take the road at all.
It takes the right mindset to reach this peace agreement with failure, and there’s more to the mindset than resetting your relationship with mistakes. For a limited time, we’re offering a free eBook called The Successful Mindset Guidebook
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