Failure pays, but only if you learn and grow from it


Failure inherently is a negative word. But as entrepreneurs, scientists, and inventors around the world and throughout time know, failure has its benefits.

For starters, the fact that you’re actively failing at least is an indicator that you’re trying. Don’t give up! Second, failure can get you one step closer to success. That’s a principle that any decent sales professional lives by; blow through the noes to get to the yeses. Most importantly, failure can provide valuable feedback on what’s not working, pointing the way to eventual success.

Not everyone, however, buys into this point of view. A lot of people think failure is for losers. OK, tell that to Thomas Edison, Abraham Lincoln, and Steve Jobs, all of whom failed on the way to historic successes in science, politics, and technology. And the reason they eventually became successful is because they learned from their mistakes and made adjustments.

“Without failure, there can be no success,” writes Forbes contributor Garrison Leykam. “The learning that comes with falling short of a goal actually propels us forward. Unfortunately, it is drilled into our heads in school that failing is something we want to avoid at all costs — that failing is a bad thing because we didn’t study hard enough or, worse, that somehow we are just not smart enough to succeed.”

It is this fear of failure that keeps people trapped in jobs and careers they hate — and all because they are afraid to step outside of their comfort zones for fear of stumbling and being considered failures. That’s a dangerous mindset anytime, but especially in the digital economy, where adaptability and a willingness to be in perpetual learning mode arguably are the two most important traits workers can possess.

“To reinvent our career, we must not only redefine how we will define success in our new life but also how we will rethink and relate to failure,” Leykam says. “To learn, we must embrace failure.”

That means wearing your failure scars proudly, and being able to articulate (to yourself most of all) and act upon what you learned from your failures. Do that, and you will be on the road to success, potholes and all.

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