We’re more than a week into the new year, and I’m sure some of you have already given up on your new year’s resolutions and goals. It happens, so don’t beat yourself up, especially since I consider failure part of the process. In fact, failure is a necessary step to reaching success.
So often we see failure as the end, the stopping point in our goal, so we have to bring our effort to a halt and start again. But if there is one important lesson I’ve learned in the last few years, it’s that failure can’t stop anyone from succeeding. What stops people from succeeding is giving up, not continuing after they fail, not trying again after repeated failure. I truly believe this is what separates people. Those who can tolerate and push through failures will go further, and tolerance to failure is a great virtue.
Now there more to it than just failing and still pushing. Failure is there so that we learn and adapt as we move forward. Einstein said that insanity is doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results. If you do something and you fail, you will certainly fail if you do it the exact same way the next time. Make small tweaks in the process, in the strategy that you use to work on the goal. It’s a fresh opportunity to tackle a problem from a different angle and gain more information about it.
Imagine for a second that you have some problem that seems insurmountable. You try to solve it, and you fail. you try again a different way, and you fail. You continue trying 100 different ways, adding tweaks and new information, different strategies, and ideas you had never considered before, but you still fail. You keep going, expanding on what works, and throwing away what doesn’t work. You’re slowly zeroing in on the solution. Maybe you have to take a big step back and try something completely new, and tweak that to move toward a solution, but you still fail. Finally, after 1000 tries, you succeed. Not because you found the right way, but because you exhausted all of the wrong ways. You found 1000 ways to fail, and all that was left was the successful try.
It really all comes down to persistence. If you can truly believe that the solution exists, then no matter what, you will reach it if you choose to not give up. Sometimes there is a thing in our life that we really want, we just can’t let go of. We are committed to it, heart and soul. We can’t see a life where we do not work toward that one thing, and so we apply our entire lives to it, and all of our available resources. Every decision we make is a small part of that one thing, and we hope to steer the ship of our fate toward it. If we accept that we will fail along the way, and learn along the way, we will have no other alternative then to reach it.
So whatever you are working toward, accept failure. Better yet, embrace failure, learn from it, grow with it. There will be no limit to what you can do.