Failure is a Myth: There is Only Ever Feedback
“Failure should be our teacher, not our undertaker. Failure is delay, not defeat. It is a temporary detour, not a dead end. Failure is something we can avoid only by saying nothing, doing nothing, and being nothing.” – Denis Waitley
Do you remember the first time in your life you heard the word, “failure?” It’s such a negative, yet powerful word. Parents and teachers use it our whole lives in order to control us. They try to get us to comply, do our homework, and study hard for tests in order to “not be a failure.”
And the school system grades us from A to F, where the “F” word stands for something worse than what you are thinking – “Failure!”
We even get sayings from it like, “He got a big fat ‘F’ on his test.” We also get the word “flunk” or “flunking” from this horrible “F” word too…
In school, we are taught and trained all through our youth and even into our early adult lives to always, always, always avoid failing – avoid the dreaded “F” word.
This is just another way that the system is setup to control us. Most of us are so afraid to go outside the system that we don’t even dare RISK failing at anything. So, we settle for mediocre jobs in mediocre corporations, living a mediocre life.
But if you’re lucky, you might come upon some article, somewhere, and get a completely different viewpoint on the word “failure” which just might change your life for the better, forever…
Perhaps this article is that article!
Let’s begin the paradigm shifting process right now…
The Benefits of Failing
Unlike your third grade teacher who instilled the fear of God in you for failing your spelling test, we’re going to take a completely different approach…
There are many benefits to failing such as:
- Trying something unknown and new for the first time.
- Getting clear as to whether or not you like something.
- Removing any doubt you may have about how difficult the thing was that you tried.
- Becoming very clear as to WHAT DOESN’T WORK.
- Realizing what doesn’t work so that you can try something that does.
- Assessing where you are relative to whatever it was that you failed at.
- Determining if you enjoyed the process regardless of whether or not you succeeded.
- Getting closer to the real solution.
Edison failed 10,000 times in order to create a light bulb. Could you imagine if he went to his third grade teacher, having failed 10,000 times, saying, “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” This is actually what he said. Perhaps not to his third grade teacher, however…
10,000 times that he tried something that didn’t work. But what he knew was that it only took one single time for it to work which could literally light up the world…
Countless successful people have failed – countless. They come from all walks of life, but with the same understanding of the value of failure, which our schools do not teach…
“I’ve missed more than 9000 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’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.” – Michael Jordan
Michael Jordan is considered to be one of the greatest of all time. But he too knew that failure was a part of success – a necessary part of success…
The Value of Contrast
A photo with no contrast would not show the image. Likewise, if contrast was missing from your life, you would not know what you want.
Contrast, in this sense of the word, is all of the “bad things” that happen in your life – the failed marriage, getting fired from a job, the friend who ripped you off thousands of dollars, to the disappointment that you have after buying a questionable product.
When you have contrast in life, you have clarity as to what it is that you don’t want. So, a failed marriage can let you know more clearly what you don’t want in your next partner. And by knowing what you don’t want, you know more clearly what you do.
Contrast helps us to understand what we don’t want so that we can more clearly understand what we do want.
The problem with contrast is that most of us don’t see it in a positive light – we tend to look at it as absolutely, unquestionably bad. But the truth is that it is part of the creative process. It is a necessary component to gaining clarity as to both what you don’t want, and what you do want.
Failure is a Myth
The whole point is that failure is a myth – it’s a word that was created in order to control – in order to judge – and in order to segregate those who are successful from those who are failures.
In the real world outside of school, failure is a normal, natural part of the human experience. When we fail at marriage, we work harder at the next one. When we fail on the job at something, we work harder to learn from our mistakes. When we fail with our children in any way, we work harder for success with them.
You cannot fail if you keep on trying. There is only ever feedback.
From the time that we are born, we are tested, judged, characterized, labeled, and compared to others in a futile effort to see who is a failure, and who is not. When we get older, we can become so afraid of failing that we don’t even try – after all, if you never try anything, you can’t fail.
But rather than seeing failure as failing, see it as the valuable part of the normal process of learning, growing and becoming more. And see the contrast in your life as a way to get clear as to what you don’t want, so you can more clearly understand what you do want.
Failure is not bad. It’s actually a vital part of the process of creation…
The creation of you…