How often have you failed in your life? How often do you fail now? Taking it to the extreme, do you feel as if you are a failure?
What would you say if I said you’d never failed? Not once, not ever.
I know it sounds a bit nuts but failure suggests, to me anyway, an end, like failed = finished. Wings fall of an aeroplane = mechanical failure = aeroplane is finished. But I don’t think that’s true for us.
For example, you don’t pass exam = failure? I don’t think so, because you’re not finished. You just need to find another way. You have choice, the aeroplane doesn’t. You have the choice to resit the exam, to give up, to do something else, to study harder…the choice goes on. The one thing you have found out? That whatever you did the first time you sat the exam, doesn’t work!
There is a famous story about Thomas Edison and the 200/3000/60/10,000/4000,000 (delete depending which story you have read) attempts he had at inventing the electric lightbulb. When asked about his numerous ‘failures’ he is said to have retorted with ‘I’ve not failed, I just found 10,000 ways that didn’t work’.
How many times have you had the same ‘failure’ again and again? This is because, unlike Edison, you haven’t learned from your experience, probably because you looked on it as a failure and thought it was finished. You tried to draw a line under it and move on.
Let’s apply the Edison Effect* now; How would your life seem different if you allowed yourself to look back at your ‘failures’ and use them as learning experiences? How would it change if you thought about your ‘failures’ as ways that didn’t work, work out how they didn’t work and change your approach the next time to change the result?
The joy of ‘failure’ is that it allows you to give up on that particular thing because you believe it’s finished. But it’s not. You were handed an opportunity to learn a way that didn’t work. Did you take it?
Every day’s a school day, but only if you show up.
*at this point can i please ask the Tesla fan boys and girls to refrain from Edison bashing! I know.