Learn to Fail

Originally Posted November 16 2016

If you’re going to learn any skill in life, then learn how to fail. Because honestly you’re never going to meet a more successful person in life than a failure.

Sure we may not call them failures as we focus on the one success that they had, but the truth is, that before you can be competent or popular at anything, you must first become an artisan at failing.

Failing is painful. But it also means you took the risk by throwing yourself out there. The more you fail, the more you start to learn how to fail in less painful ways. Much like any martial artist must first learn how to fall and avoid injury, so too can you learn how to minimize the damage in your failures.

With the damage lowered, you begin to realize the great benefit that comes from failure. Experience.

Failure is an amazing teacher. In fact, I would argue it’s one of the best teachers out there. As you fail at what you’re doing, you learn what it looks like to have something go wrong. You have that experience burnt into your brain, allowing you to catch yourself quicker when you near that failing point again in the future. A failure may not hold the result you’re looking for, but it holds the information to get you far closer than you were before.

Which leads us to the next part. Perseverance.

This is by far the hardest part of the failing system to master, because it goes against what we want as humans. As human beings, we don’t WANT to fail. We don’t WANT to admit we made mistakes. We don’t WANT to face loss again…. but to give into such loss leaves you with nothing but a larger loss than you’ve already achieved. Because you’re taking all that wonderful knowledge you’ve gained, and are tossing it out the window!

This is an area I myself struggle in. But I have met people who do it far better than myself. People who take failure as a challenge. Who are motivated each time they mess up. Like the small child who goes “NO! THIS TIME I’LL MAKE IT WORK!” after his 100th missed shot, there are people who just are tired of letting go.

Now sure there is a limit to this. You have to ask yourself, “Is the possible gain REALLY worth the risk?” And honestly, if you’re just going to try the same thing again hoping your stubbornness will pay off. You’re just as bad as if you just gave up!

Failure is a learning opportunity. If we don’t learn, we’ve ‘failed’ to grasp the purpose of it. (But don’t worry, now you’ve learned from that and can move on!)

Failure is hard. There will be many well meaning people who make you feel like dirt for experiencing it. There will be countless people who tell you to “give up” or “Take life seriously!” for the best of reasons… but honestly… accepting defeat will only take you so far.

I’ve heard it said, “The difference between a professional and an amateur is that the professional has failed more times than the amateur has even tried.”

If there’s something that means a lot to you…. keep at it! Don’t throw your life away pursuing it, but throw away what doesn’t matter in your life to keep at it! I promise you, there’s a lot more free time available than you know!

Try! Fail! Learn! Grow! Or in the words of the timeless teacher of our childhoods. “Take chances! Make mistakes! Get messy!” Because who knows what the future can hold? You may as well find out by giving it the best you’ve got!

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