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How To Fail With A Smile

Failure – one of the most problematic “F” words in the English language. Culturally, we are trained to avoid failure! It is seen as something that we should not experience, because it hurts, it tells us we are not as good as we thought - it can make us feel inadequate. To me, learning how to fail is one of the most important skills we can learn. It unlocks several doors where success and fulfilment are concerned, often giving us invaluable tools to start working on levelling up our craft. So, with that being said, here are three ways that you can learn how to fail and actually enjoy the process...

Tip 1 - Depersonalize The Experience of Failing

What often happens when we miss the mark is that we view our shortcoming as a reflection of our own inadequacy as opposed to a stepping stone towards the next stage of our development. Failure provides the roadmap to personal success and fulfilment, in my experience at least. Culturally though, we have been fed a distorted picture of success being a string of wins as opposed to an accumulation of - and adaptation to -losses. To really deal with failure, you have to learn to accept it is a blessing, not a curse. This requires a depersonalizing of the experience. Your mistakes don’t mean YOU aren’t good enough, it means that you missed the mark in the context you found yourself in. Approaching the experience of missing the mark like this, enables you to pivot and adapt accordingly where your goals and objectives are concerned.

Tip 2 - Act On The Blessing That Is Feedback

Feedback is incredibly valuable and often underutilized. It is the way in which businesses develop, systems evolve and people improve. Feedback is rarely acted upon though, because there is an aspect of effort that most people aren’t willing to put in. Acknowledging and correcting your mistakes can take a considerable mental effort, but what occurs on the other side of this effort is often sustainable, long-term improvement. The highest performers across the longest period of time act on the blessing that is feedback – they actually prioritize it more than praise... they enjoy the process of missing the mark. So, look at your grade report, ask your teachers/friends/coaches/colleagues for that uncomfortable piece of feedback... If you don't act on the blessings that are around you, the chance to level up is often missed.

Tip 3 - Recalibrate Your Lens

We can never be perfect when it comes to the skills or aspects of our life that we are trying to improve. We can however be content with ourselves and our ability to gradually improve on our shortcomings and learn from our mistakes with as much honesty as our successes. Success is not a process of straight wins, it is a piecing together of losses and understanding the lessons between. The key to winning is falling in love with the loss. This is what "recalibrating" the lens means.

This article was heavily influenced by a Winsider Podcast episode I released last week (at the time of writing). The Winsider Podcast aims to provide an insight into the minds and practices of high performers to provide clues and pathways for those wanting to change the world.

If there is anything that I have missed or skipped over in this article, please let me know! If you are attempting to learn from me, I would love to learn from you. Have a wonderful week!

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