I Love A Good Failure

Today has been excellent.

I was coming hot off the heels of a month where I missed a few goals for myself, so I really changed a few things. Today, as a result, was awesome.

Failure is the ultimate renewable resource. You’ll never run out of them, and learning to convert them into forward momentum is the ultimate skill.

Something I realized that really helped me get into this mind set is this: Failure and success in your life aren’t zero-sum. I’ll say it again:

Failure and success in your life aren’t zero-sum.

Failure isn’t taking away from your success. It’s adding to it – if you do it right.

Here are a few tips to maximize the value you extract from failures in your life:

  1. Be super public about them. Swallow your ego and just talk about your stumbles. When I posted about missing my August New Month’s Resolution, you know what I didn’t get? I didn’t get an outcry of people mocking me, telling me how much respect they’d lost for me, or distancing themselves from me personally and professionally. What I did get was an outpouring of people, publicly and privately, who offered me words of encouragement and actionable advice. So I converted my failure into motivation and knowledge!
  2. Always make the day after a failure the day you work the hardest, and then immediately reward yourself for that. Train your subconscious to associate small failures with opportunities for change and giving yourself something pleasant when you do that. Our brains are simple machines in many ways. So yesterday and today I did a lot of work on my goals, accomplished everything I set out to do, and now I’m rocking out to a great playlist and I’m going to watch a movie I love later, probably while treating myself to some good food.
  3. Write down what you learned. Don’t let the emotion you experienced during the setback be the thing that carries forward. Minimize it by writing down lessons you can take forward. Commit to writing something publicly so you can’t just whine about it – you have to really write something positive. This cycles back to number 1!

If you do these things, every little failure will give you knowledge, motivation, and self-respect. Often they’ll give you more of those things than successes would have!

The best little side effect of this process: Once it’s in place and you start doing it, you’ll also seek out more failures. They won’t be barriers to you, they’ll be sources of great things in your life, so you’ll seek them out. But you can’t seek out failures without also seeking out the kinds of behaviors that lead to successes. Instead of hiding in your comfort zone, you’ll chase new things, picking up failures along the way like power-ups instead of trying to avoid them and slowing your progress in the process.

Go out there and fail!

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