Wednesday, November 10, 2010

It's OK to fail.

When I came across postcard with a sign "failure is cool" my first reaction was: No, it isn't! But then I thought about it and came to few interesting conclusions. First of all that failures are integrative part of the learning process. When I think about the situations I learned  from most, it was definitely not the ones after which you open the champagne (or beer in my case). It were the ones where I failed. And usually quite badly.

Being subscribed to way too many newsletters connected to my work, I regularly get tips on how to succeed in this and that. The 5 ways on how to improve communication with your clients, 10 steps for better social networking, 7 good practices on writing etc. It's very interesting to read about mistakes other people made and success they achieved. But can we really learn from it? I remember every time my parents told me not to do something because this and this can/will happen, that was exactly what I did. Not because I wouldn't trust them, but because it's hard to learn from other people's experience.

Most of the society is very intensely focussed on success and there's not necessarily anything wrong with that. But aren't we forgetting that often success is based on learning from your own failure? Eventually you need to fail at some points in your life to be able to move on. That is of course if you are able to reflect upon the mistakes and learn from them at least to some extent.  Could it be that success depends on how successfully we find learning opportunities in our failures and not how successfully we are trying to avoid them?
I wonder. Maybe it's time for a few changes.
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1 comment:

alcessa said...

Since my (professional) mistakes are important, I always try and want to learn from them and mostly, they are important.
But I derive the greatest pleasure from learning by... conjecture. Meaning: I try to envisage, analyse and describe a problem (= ways to deal with a project, individual working steps, sequence of necessary working steps etc. etc. - anything will do) and then I carry out my methods and try to pinpoint the degree of my success or failure. Usually, there's quite some adrenalin involved, which is good for Sitting Moose :-)