The crooked road to success is long and isolated. And every person on this planet has to walk down that road. It’s those who push on, continue to work hard, and take failure in their stride who will achieve the success they’re after. Because success always follows failure.
If you can recognise failure and learn from it, you’ll achieve success at faster rate and with less stress than before.
You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated. In fact, it may be necessary to encounter the defeats, so you can know who you are, what you can rise from, how you can still come out of it.
– Maya Angelou
I’ve failed so many time it makes my head hurt. I try not to look back with regret, but life would be so much easier without so many failures. I’ve messed up in so many ares of my life.
I have failed with relationships. My marriage failed after seven years. I think I’m a good person so not being able to make my wife happy was a huge blow to me. Fortunately we’re still good friends, and neither of us regret our time together. But I wish I’d done things differently. I’ve learnt that communication, and honesty are so important. And that you shouldn’t rush relationships, let them evolve organically.
I’ve failed to lose weight. As a teenager I was very athletic and excelled at sport. But when I was stuck in a cubicle looking at a monitor all day I quickly put on a lot of weight. I was fat. I attempted and failed to lose weight numerous times. But I finally figured out what worked for me (bloody hard work, discipline, and patience). I’m now stronger and leaner than I’ve ever been. But I still have to think about my weight every day. When I’m travelling and away from the gym I will gain weight easily, but I know how to get it off as soon as I can settle into a routine. Putting a few kilos on doesn’t bother me anymore.
I’ve failed at starting my own business. When I was stuck in the cubicle, hating my life, I often dreamed of running my own successful business. And it still is a dream of mine. I tried to start a bunch of times – from web design, computer repairs, writing, and photography. I’ve tried chasing my passions, I’ve tried running a small business on the side, I’ve tried so many times. Still, nothing has clicked. But I’m going to keep trying. My motivation hasn’t changed. But I hope I’ve learnt from past failures and can make it work this time.
These are just my big failures. I fail everyday – especially now I’m living in Peru. My Spanish is terrible!
Enough about my failures. Let’s talk about how failure can be used to your benefit. Since success follows failure, learning how to fail will bring you closer to success a lot faster.
Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.
– Winston Churchill
Overcome your fear of failure by trying a lot of new things. Put yourself out there and learn to be brave. Start small. Keep the cost of failure small. For me it’s catching a bus, or buying food, or talking to anyone in Spanish. But the cost is small. I embarrass myself every day here in Lima. When you fail and then succeed in a safe environment, you can apply what you learn to bigger ideas and projects.
Recognise when you fail. It’s important not to deny your failures and keep chasing a lost cause. By recognising when you fail you can quickly change course. When I started to lose weight I would work my arse off in the gym six days a week. That made me hungry, and I ate more. When the weight loss stopped I scrutinised every calorie I ate. By changing my diet and strength training three times a week instead I started to lose weight again, and became stronger at the same time. Trial and error is an important process of achieving success. Fail often and fine tune.
Listen to feedback. You need to be able to accept criticism. That doesn’t mean all criticism is valid, you can’t please everyone. But don’t shut out everyone either. Listen to your genuine supporters, they want you to succeed. It’s also important to ask for help when you need it.
Be flexible. Stay open to change. You can plan things out in as much detail as you want, but plans have a funny way of changing. Don’t resist the change. Go with it. Change course, approach things differently. Keep working hard and see where it takes you.
Never give up!
Everyone fails. Most people give up. The people who don’t give up and continue to work hard become successful. It’s that simple. You may have to fine tune along the way, but that’s how amazing things happen. And life is all about being amazing. So don’t give up on your dreams. Dream big, and fail often.
What is your biggest failure? And how did you overcome it? I’d love to hear your story in the comments.