I’ve always been one to say that you only fail if you don’t try. But there’s a little more to failure than that. Although effort always counts for something, if your effort doesn’t bring results, you might need to figure out where you went wrong in the process.
Chris Brogan and I have had a few Twitter conversations about habits and success over the last few months. I asked Chris what he thought was the most important habit one could develop for life. Here’s what he said,
Learning from failure and moving forward.
Failure is not a bad thing. Without it, we would never learn. Of course, I don’t want to fail. But when I do, I can use that failure in a positive way.
I’ve been writing and blogging regularly for about six years. My books have not sold as well as I would have hoped. Does that mean my writing sucks and I’m a failure. Maybe, but I don’t think so. It’s not my writing that’s the problem. I failed to truly study the process of self-publishing and launching a book. Perhaps, I’d have sold more copies by now if I had.
I’ve become more successful as writer and a blogger in the past few years. But I’ve often failed at truly studying and implementing the strategies that lead to widespread readership. So what’s next?
Failure Is Part of the Learning Journey
When we fail to achieve the results we hoped for, we can use that experience to learn. When I think back to my college years, I often learned from the test questions I missed. Why? Because when I got the test back, I wanted to know the right answer. So I looked it up. I learned from my failure.
The same goes for my writing journey. Now that I’ve self-published several books, I can study my mistakes and change my publishing strategies for the next book.
Sometimes we fail because we’re not ready. It takes time to hone one’s writing skills to the professional level. So a few failures along the way can only help us improve as writers.
Know When It’s Time to Move On
It won’t do you much good to dwell on your failures. The key is to learn from failure and move on. Sometimes that means attempting to do the same thing in a better way. But sometimes it might mean that you need to reconsider the entire endeavor.
In my case, I believe in my own writing abilities. I can gain more respect and authority as a writer. I just have to rethink my strategies in reaching a larger audience. But if I were to try and fail at an extreme contact sport, I might want to rethink the whole thing. Sometimes we need to accept the fact that we are not cut out for something and move on. In either case, we learn from failure.
Is there something in your life that you have failed to achieve? Have you truly studied the problems with your initial effort? Are you ready to try again with your newfound knowledge? Move forward and believe in yourself. That’s the power of failure.
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