Why Failure is a Good Thing

{flickr photo by: ??zeiss66super}

Failure Isn’t an Option

These days I keep hearing people say that, “failure isn’t an option for me.”

They must be talking about permanent failure as in “I quit” versus temporary failure.

Because in the world of pursuing one’s dreams, failure is a requirement.

I have to tell you a story…

Several years ago, I worked for a researcher. He was one of the nicest bosses I ever had. We got along the way Elaine in Seinfeld said about her and Jerry, “like clams.”

To prepare me for an upcoming trip he had, he told me to watch out for a letter that was supposed to arrive when he was gone. He told me it was important, described what to look out for and then went off on his big trip.

While he was away, that letter did come in the mail. But it was in a package that I didn’t recognize.

A few days later I got a scolding of a lifetime.

It was not a good day my friends.

The manager in charge called me into her office. She was livid. She yelled and reminded me that it was “the one thing I was supposed to do” and, “how could I blow it?” The company could have lost millions of dollars because of my error.

I Made a Million Dollar Mistake

I sat there horrified at what I had done. Yes it was bad. Yes I made a HUGE mistake. And yes I acknowledged that I would never do it again.

But then I moved one.

Life went on.

I ended up making one of the biggest failures a person could make.

But it was not the end of the world. My failure did not define me. In fact, I have had a lot more failures (and worse ones!) and successes since then.

It’s all a part of the journey.

Sometimes I need reminding of this.

You might have failed recently and need to be reminded right now too.

Pushing Through Failure

Reading this quote from Callings: Finding an Following an Authentic Life author Gregg Levoy helps put things in perspective for me:

“I was once told that if I’m not failing regularly, I’m living so far below my potential that I’m failing anyway.”

He also quoted poet Rilke and said this:

“the purpose of life is to be defeated by greater and greater things.”

If you have failed recently, don’t think of it as an ultimate, lasting defeat. Think of it as a stepping stone toward greater things.

Think that every single obstacle, hurdle, mistake, failure that you’ve made so far is taking you that much closer to your dreams.

It’s not a hunky dory way to deal with mistakes. It is the truth. Just think about how many famous successful people in front of you. Now think about all the dumb mistakes, huge errors and mind-boggling failures they had to get through in order to get to the top.

So what are you waiting for?

Get started on failing now!

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