"I've learnt more from my failures than my successes" – (Richard Branson)
"Failure is the chance to begin again more successfully" – (Thomas Edison)
So, you have failed at something. Well done! Now, this might seem like a strange thing to say, but failing at something can offer us some important learning opportunities. I am a firm believer that you are only ever a failure if you fail to try or your fail to learn. And the sad thing is: there are so many people that do not try things for fear of failure. They are too worried about what other people might think, and therefore prefer to stay within personal life areas that they feel comfortable.
Some of the most important lessons I have gained in life have come directly from failing at something. I have failed at relationships. I have failed with my money, my time, my health, my work, my friends, my family and my life. Yes, I am proud to admit it – I have failed many times. Many of the most successful people in the world agree that they have as well. But it is through the failing that one can truly grow and become the person they were born to be. Through failing, I believe I have become more successful and will continue to do so as long as I keep improving.
- I once averaged 6 runs per inning in a cricket season. I learnt from the experience, changed my mindset and averaged 132 per inning for a season.
- I was once in a relationship where I was blinded by beauty and it took me a long time to realise that our personalities were not in tune to be truly happy together. I am now in a wonderful relationship.
- I failed my Learners driving license the first time. I have now had my license for over 12 years with an excellent driving record.
- I did poorly in my trial HSC exams at school and barely made it into my undergraduate university course of choice. Since then, I have finished a degree, and have now finished my Graduate Diploma in Business at UTS with distinction and have several other qualifications that I am proud of.
- Life is full of ups and downs – it is what you do about it that makes the difference. Donald Trump was once more than $ 900 million dollars in debt. He is now a billionaire and one of the richest men in the world. Now, you might not have lost $ 900 million dollars, but I would bet that you have failed at things in your life and turned many ordinary situations into wonderful experiences.
I am not saying that you should not 'look before you leap'. When taking any kind of risk, you always need to weigh up the risk versus the potential reward and do all the homework required to make an informed decision. If you can avoid making the mistakes that others have made then do that instead – the learning still applies, often without the pain.
Some people, however, shield themselves away from any possible pain and never step outside their comfort zone. It is like a large tree being put into a small pot: it wants to grow and be all it can be, but it is constrained by limitations.
It is okay to make mistakes as long as you always ask yourself the following questions:
- "Why did I make this mistake?"
- "What will I do differently next time to ensure that I succeed?"
Learning from mistakes is a vital ingredient in living happy, successful lives. Life itself is an amazing teacher. There are multitudes of experiences which provide learning for us.
By the way if you have not made a mistake for a while, ask yourself the following question: Have you been pushing the limits of your current capabilities? If the answer is no, then your personal growth and development may not be at a level it could be. The trick is not to get too comfortable in your comfort zones – otherwise you tend to stay there, and learning stops. I am often amazed at how many people finish their tertiary studies after completing school, get a full-time position and do not complete any further training. If you do not exercise your bicep muscle, it becomes weak. The same applies with your mind. If you do not challenge your mind and expand it, it will become weaker and less effective.
Step outside of your comfort zones, make mistakes. Learn, grow and then you will begin to unlock your immense potential.
Enjoy the journey.