That’s right; sometimes you just have to commit to being WRONG.
Does that sound counterintuitive? Well, that’s because it flies in the face of everything you’ve ever been taught – especially in school. School teaches us that we get rewarded when we are right, and chastised when we’re wrong.
But what’s wrong with that? Isn’t it good to reinforce good behaviour?
Well, yes… but that’s only half of the story.
It is good to reinforce pleasing behaviour and results, but I would argue that it’s equally as important to reward failure. Too much focus is put on the success element of the journey, yet the journey to success is anything but what you are taught to visualise and this results in young people having a warped and damaged view of their own journey as it stretches out before them.
The biggest issue with this is that these people think that they should be able to want something, click their fingers, and get it – success – whatever that means to each individual. What they’re not being told is that the only road to success is the cobbled path of failure.
Imagine an old cobble stone road; uneven, bumpy, hard to navigate compared with flat tarmac surfaces, and unpredictable. Make no mistake – these are the stones that pave your road to success, and each one of them represents an opportunity to commit to failure.
But how on Earth is failure an opportunity?
It’s simple – because our learned perception of failure has become warped and twisted, we see it in a heavy hue of negativity. Who wants to fail right? Fuck that, I’m all about success! Erm, no – sorry, but it just doesn’t work like that.
The best example of committing to failure that comes to mind is that of Thomas Edison and his relentless devotion to inventing the first electric light. 10,000 times he committed to failure, and 10,000 times he tried again until he had his breakthrough moment. So what was the difference between him and the youth of today? He saw failure differently – he saw it as an opportunity to grow, to learn and to move forward. He embraced it, welcomed it in fact, into his life and it brought to him all that he dreamed of.
Because he understood that failure is not negative in the slightest – he framed it in such a positive light that it was almost a mini victory every time he failed! He didn’t see it as failing – he saw it as having discovered a new way to NOT make an electric light! What a powerful way to reframe the way you perceive something that consistently doesn’t go your way.
Finding joy and gratitude in his failures was what gave him the strength and conviction to carry on for all those years and through all those iterations of his designs. It fuelled the fire of his passion, and presented itself as his very own cobbled stone path leading him right into his vision.
A failure is a discovery. It’s finding a new way something shouldn’t be done. It’s the stepping stones that line the path to success in any field – consistently failing, picking oneself up, dusting oneself off, and starting over grateful for the gift of being able to eliminate a route that doesn’t serve you. Failures show us the false spectres in our lives, those that would conspire to lead us away from our dreams and goals, to freeze us in our own paralysing fear.
Failure is a gift.
It’s our misunderstanding of failure in this way that feeds our fears and keeps us stagnate, trapped in our own lives by our limiting beliefs. When you see failure as a negative, you run from it, and in so doing you run from your dreams and the core of who you are. If you don’t want to fail for embarrassment or any other reason, then you are committing yourself to a life of mediocrity. You will never push past your fears of failure and so you will never reach the levels of success that you desire – failure is the stepping stone to success, and if you’re not willing to take the plunge and step on those stones, you cannot hope to move any closer to your goals in life.
Commit to failure. See it as a positive necessity on the road that will take you wherever you want to go. Reframe it so you see that with each failure you experience you give yourself the gift of moving closer to your goals through your own self-discovery. Every failure contains within it a valuable lesson – so if you never fail at anything, how can you ever hope to learn the lessons of life that will allow you to grow into the person you need to be to achieve your goals?
I’ve learned more each time I’ve experienced failure in my life than I have learned from all my wins combined. I relish it, I welcome it, I commit to it.
Better to start, to try and to fail, so you can come back bigger, better and stronger the next time around, than to exist in a perpetual state of mediocrity. Failure is a beautiful thing; embrace it and use it to get to where you want to go.
Just remember; you need to be open to the lessons that come with each failure – if you’re not, life will keep throwing the same lesson at you in different forms until you get it and that can be a painful experience in itself.