Don’t Just Embrace Failure, Run Headfirst Into It.
I remember like it was yesterday when I was first introduced to failure. At the young age of ten, I was playing in my first Pee Wee football game. Needless to say, I had never played organized football. Growing up in the inner-city, I wasn’t afforded the luxury of playing on the grass with goalposts, uniforms, let alone organized.
However, playing tackle football on cement gave me an edge of toughness. Also, there were no age or weight restrictions. My older brother and his friends enjoyed smashing me and my friends into the ground. We wore our scrapes and scars with pride.
On this particular day first quarter, I was asked to receive a punt. I had no idea what I was doing and fumbled the ball. The other team recovered and my coach was pissed. I felt like crap and never took another punt. In fact, because of that fear of failing, I switched to playing on defense.
For most of our young years, we are taught that failure is bad. We are graded in school with a pass or fail rating. Instead of learning how to think critically, we are taught and graded on our ability to remember a lesson plan. To further ingrain in us that failure is “bad”, there is some form of punishment or ridicule as a result of it.
As adults, we carry this wrong mental picture as to what it means to fail. Again, we are graded with performance evaluations as a way to inform us if we are good or bad employees. Instead of rating us on our ability to innovate, think, or create. The results of the performance evaluation usually have some monetary value placed on it as a way of punishment or reward.
But what if we had a paradigm shift about failure? What if we looked at failure as a tool on our path to success? It’s really quite simple in concept.
Keep in mind that the path to success requires you to make decisions. Instead of basing your decisions on right or wrong or pass or fail, you realize that you cannot make a bad decision, ever. Every decision you make either takes you directly towards your goals or provides you with a means to sharpen your decision-making.
Failure when viewed this way now becomes a tool of achievement and not an anchor hanging around your neck making you feel worthless or afraid to take a chance on achieving any worthwhile pursuit.
History is full of notable failures such as Oprah, Michael Jordan, Thomas Edison, Albert Einstein, Prince, Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos, Steven Spielberg, Steve Jobs, and yours truly. So you are in good company.
Everyone fails in life. Most don’t see it for the gift it is and give in to it instead of learning, improving, and growing because of it.
There are always forks on your road to success. Failure serves as that defining moment. It measures your grit, courage, perseverance, commitment, and dedication to your achievements. It truly measures how badly you want what you want. Failure is the price for admission to your chosen adventures in life.
Failure should never define you, it should refine you. Embracing failure allows it to guide you toward your goals or help you to see that perhaps a pursuit chosen isn’t the right one for you. Should you stay the course, the ultimate reward will always be your success.
Look forward to failing the next time you muster up the courage to take on a challenging endeavor. Don’t allow failure to keep you from the life and future you are creating. Instead, embrace it as a test of faith, as a lesson towards your journey, or a detour to a better outcome.
In a quick search on Amazon, I discovered that there are over 60,000 books on success. Quite a bit. It would seem then that the quickest route to success is simply the reduction of failure. One way would be to reframe what failure means to you as we discussed.
Another way, If you find that a bit difficult, is to identify and minimize your failure habits that tend to appear whenever you are engaged in accomplishing a worthy goal.
So get out there and do something worthwhile.
Live More, Laugh More, Love More, and Be a Blessing to Someone Else.
Jah Khyle Howard is an Executive “Bizologist”. Author, Speaker, Motivator, Practitioner of Peace, and Profound Lover of Life. He’s authored a mini-e-course detailing practical ways of identifying your failure habits called “Eliminate Failure For Good”.