The Success of Failure

Failure is inevitable. We all attempt things and fail. But do you know that failure is a good thing?

For many of us, we see failure as something we don’t want to talk about, nor do we want anyone to know about it. We put on a brave face and pretend everything’s a-okay.

After reading the book “Business Brilliant” by Lewis Schiff, my attitude towards failure now is that I embrace it! Bring it on baby!

In the book Lewis Schiff discusses a national survey he conducted that revealed the eye-opening findings between middle class workers and self-made millionaires. Through the research it reveals the truth about how the wealthy get rich. It also dispels some commonly believed myths and conventional wisdom about the definition of success.

Where I found it fascinating is that the difference between self-made millionaires and the average middle class worker, is that setbacks and failures taught them what they are good at. In the survey fewer than 2 out of 10 middle classers agreed.

What this tells me is that when we fall off the horse, the millionaires mindset is to get straight back on. For the general populace, the instinct is to nurse our wounds and walk away.

Why is that?

All the people profiled in the book faced serious setbacks, but their experience of failure turned out to be a key ingredient in developing “business brilliance”.

“Failure is not really about what happens to you. It’s how you deal with it, and what you make of it”. David Neeleman (founder of JetBlue Airlines)

So how does this relate to us? I believe it means we need to embrace the “Failure Faith” mentality if we are to persist through our failures to get to our ultimate success. Failure faith is described as the “conviction that even though you try to stretch and achieve something special, failure yields unforeseen lessons and benefits.”

This means that even though you don’t get the job, win the client or fail at landing a big opportunity, consider it a practise run for the next attempt. You’ve already learned something new you can apply to the next attempt.

“Rejection is a zero-cost failure. And since the risk of rejection only offers upside, you might as well go out and risk as much rejection as you can.” Lewis Schiff

Many successful companies are not very keen to let the public know of their failures, the habit has been to cover things up and put on a brave face. However, we now live in the age of transparency as the amount of information available to the layman is readily available.

If there is a problem it will be uncovered so its in our best interests to embrace it and learn from it.

In the book Lewis talks about the four broad areas of daily activity that successful self-made entrepreneurs do consistently. He calls it LEAP…

LEARNING: millionaires spend more time and effort discovering what they do best and pursue opportunities related to their best attributes.

EARNING: they take on projects that maximize the dollar potential while limiting their downside risks.

ASSISTANCE: they actively cultivate networks so they can get help and advice beyond their own capabilities.

PERSISTENCE: they take an authentic interest in their failures and see them as necessary aspects of their eventual success.

So here are my Tips for Overcoming Failure…

-See rejection as a benefit. When you don’t get the job or client, look at it as one step closer to your next success.
-Cultivate the “Failure Faith” mentality and embrace failure as a necessary step in adjusting your path. Now you know to stop wasting your efforts on the wrong things.
-Use your failure to course correct toward moving yourself in the right direction.
-Learn what you do best and do more of it.
-Pursue opportunities to use what you do best by following the money. Just because you love something doesn’t mean you should become the best at it if there is no money in it.
-Ask for assistance, learning from others, cultivate a network.
-Be persistent and never give up!

So believe in yourself, you are worth it. Don’t doubt your dreams. You can do what you love and be paid for living it!

What is your opinion about failure? Share your comments below…

{Originally published on Sandy Puc’s blog SPTV The Success of Failure}

4 Responses

  1. Great article! i’ve learned to learn from my failures. I don’t allow them to set me back, but instead use them to push me forward. Thanks for reiterating the truth 🙂