F is for Feedback, Not Failure

August 11, 2011

Most people fear failure. You try to avoid it at all costs, since it means that you did not succeed at something you tried to do.  But when you take away all of the emotions tied to the word, failure is simply feedback.  Failure just means that you tried a strategy that did not work.  So what should to do about it?  The answer is very obvious.  You have to try something else.

By comprehending what doesn’t work and adjusting what you are doing until you find what does work, you are learning from your failures.  You have to remember that you have been dealing with failure your entire life.  When you were an infant, you learned how to hold a cup in order to drink your milk, but you probably dropped that cup more than a few times before you were successful in using both hands to hang on to it.  In learning to walk, it is a sure bet that you didn’t just stand up and walk because the adults doing it.  You kept trying, getting praise and encouragement from the adults even though you constantly fell down.  But eventually, you learned.

It is a fact that when you are trying to do something new, you might fail.  To tell the truth, you might fail many times before you actually get it right.  There is no shame in that.  Only by risking failure will you ever be able to grow.  Sometimes people will remind you of your failures, and say that they knew what you were doing wouldn’t work.  Those people are the ones that never fail because they never try anything new in their lives.  Keep in mind that if you are failing, at least you are doing something in your own life.

Many of the great achievers of our time failed many times before being successful at what they were doing.  For example, in creating the light bulb, Thomas Edison said, “I have not failed 5,000 times.  I have successfully discovered 5,000 ways that do not work and I do not need to try them again.”  In other words, he did not let failure or negative comments from others get in the way of finding what worked.  There are times that you will find your greatest success after you experience your greatest defeat.  Learn from your failures and continue to grow, because growing is what life is about.

This post is brought to you by the good folks at Dale Carnegie Training of the Bay Area, providers of professional development and management development courses and information in the Bay Area. We would love to connect with you on Facebook and Twitter.

Send to Kindle

One Response to F is for Feedback, Not Failure

  1. Brett Duncan on August 13, 2011 at 10:18 pm

    You could almost say that failure is a necessity to grow. The baby must fall down to prompt their learning in how to walk. We must fall off the bike to fully understand the need for balance as we ride. We must fail in business so we learn that our theories aren’t always practical. And we move on to what is.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *