If failure would guarantee us success wouldn’t we all be very successful? Isn’t it what all the experts are saying: that failure is necessary stepping-stone to success? So what is missing? Why do so many remain stuck on this side of failure while a select few are able to leap over failure and be successful?
The missing ingredient is mastering the art of failure. Here are seven key lessons that will show you how to recover and learn from failure and be successful:
1. Stuck with explaining failure than learning from it
You have to make a critical decision when faced with failure. Rather than remain stuck on trying to “explain” what has happened it may be time to move on. Pick up the pieces, salvage whatever lessons you can learn and focus your energy on the road ahead.
“You build on failure. You use it as a stepping-stone. Close the door on the past. You don’t try to forget the mistakes, but you don’t dwell on it. You don’t let it have any of your energy, or any of your time, or any of your space.” – Johnny Cash
2. Stuck in blame game
A key insight in mastering the art of failure is to answer the question: do you want to be right or do you want to be successful? If your focus is in proving a point then success may remain a distant goal. If on the other hand you want to be successful you will have to accept responsibility for the mistakes you commit. The first step is to stop the blame game. The first question to ask is: What is my role? What did I do wrong? Without accepting responsibility no learning is possible.
A man can fail many times, but he isn’t a failure until he begins to blame somebody else. – John Burroughs
3. Its still about you
Being successful is not about you. It is about service and fundamentally it is about other people. It is about making the world a better place. The glory that comes from success is only incidental. Those who are stuck on themselves and do not have the humility to think from the point of view of others are going to have a hard time crossing the hurdles posed by failure.
“Failure allows us to strip away all that is inessential.” -J. K. Rowling
4. Doing the same thing
It is irrational to think that repeating the same set of actions that have not worked before will somehow lead to a different outcome. As you rise up from the ashes of failure the first thing to address is: What changes you are prepared to make to be successful?
“The majority of men meet with failure because of their lack of persistence in creating new plans to take the place of those which fail.” – Napoleon Hill
5. Not knowing/accepting that failure is upon you
The most difficult situation all of us face is to figure out if we have failed or if we are on the right track and success is round the corner? It is here that a neutral third party can help us the most. Having a mentor who has been successful is key to help you determine if you should stay the course or accept defeat and change course. Accepting that we have failed is a bitter pill to swallow and many avoid taking this bitter medicine. They would rather plod along on a wrong course with no chance to get to destination.
“When we give ourselves permission to fail, we at the same time, give ourselves permission to excel.” –Eloise Ristad
6. Not adding new skills
The journey to success is a learning and transformative journey. The best learners are those who are the most easily successful. “Know it alls” are the ones who struggle the most. Be a good listener. Attend conferences. Read trade magazines. Constantly study those who are successful. Be ready to change your opinion and adapt. Remember that the journey usually is more important than the destination. It is the fun of creative learning that drives successful people not the glory associated with success.
“Avoid having your ego so close to your position that when your position falls, your ego goes with it. “ Colin Powell
7. Losing heart
It is not easy to allow the hand of failure to shape us and move us along the road to success. Many find the blow of failure to be too severe. Rather than using the force of failure to shorten our ego we instead find it to be too damaging. The art of failure lies in not taking failure personally. That way failure does not take too much of our energy and we can move along. Let us keep in mind the words of Jillian Michaels that in the end success is a choice:
“Why are you going to choose failure when success is an option?”
Related: The Benefits Of Failure