[feyl-yer] (n) : state or condition of not meeting a desirable or intended objective, opposite of success (from ninjawords.com)
I’ve been thinking quite a bit about failure lately. Perhaps it would be more apt to say that I’ve been feeling the emotion of failure a lot lately. One of those seasons of despair because it seems that in every aspect of life I am falling way short. I really like this definition from Ninjawords.com for failure. But as I have thought about it I have become certain of a very powerful and important aspect of failure. I think the best way to describe this insight is to simply drop the last phrase from the above definition. Here is how I am now viewing failure: a state or condition of not meeting a desirable or intended objective. That’s right, I’m dropping the part that mentions “the opposite of success”. Why? Because I am coming to believe that failure is an essential part of our learning experience. In fact, failure IS the learning experience. To take it even further I would say that to not fail or to not admit to failure IS failure.
Now I’m just playing fancy word games and I am truly sorry for that, but bear with me. We tend to view failure through the lens of win-lose; failure being a loss and success being a win. But what if we looked at failure as a delayed win or perhaps better stated an overtime victory. History is full of stories of underdogs nearly upsetting a dominant power or force only to be defeated in the end. Whether it is in sports, military history, the business world, etc…There is story after story of a winner overcoming the odds to pull off a win. The key to each of these victories regardless of the arena in which they occur is that the winners recognize that they are losing AND that they learn from their mistakes. It is only after this recognition and subsequent change in strategy that victory is now possible.
History is also rich with stories of winners who subsequently were defeated. Why? Usually because the failed to recognize that they were losing and as a result refused or failed to make necessary changes to their strategy. So like I said earlier, failure IS the learning experience; to not admit failure is THE greatest of all failures.
How is your strategy working? What failures do you need to admit?