From failure to success

on BLOG, career, success 16 Set, 2013

From failure to success

Our society imposes exclusively successful models and is always ready to appreciate “the success”, even when built on a dubious or morally questionable foundations. Already in the cradle we breathe fear for failure and error, and this inhibits our creative momentum, paradoxically reducing our probabilities of success.

Yet, we never reflect enough on the fact that the ancient and recent history is paved with hundreds of examples of exceptional success born precisely from the failure, often repeated. I refer to public and private successes, to art and economy, industry and career, science and politics: some say that the only way to succeed lies within the "trial and error" approach.

The reality, though, is that the failure is a taboo in the Western world and we are unprepared to handle failures, frustrations and disappointments, which increasingly generate depression or feelings of inadequacy. A few months ago I read that the Wimbledon High School established the "week of failure", to train its students to manage their disappointments and use mistakes as a lever to improvement. An excellent initiative to import in our schools, because "pretend" that the failure does not exist and hyper-protect the younger generations make their success (whatever form it may have) even more difficult.

Instead, failure should only be seen as a good opportunity to reflect on a certain experience and to react to it, building on what has been learned. Full stop. Without moral judgments or taking it personally.

The two key questions the coaches generally ask to their coachees are "what did you learn from this experience?" and "what will you do differently in the future?" Because learning is the only key towards success: there are no shortcuts or alternatives.

The positive results, in fact, are obtained from cycles based on motivation, action and learning: without the first, we are not fully engaged, we don’t persevere and profoundly believe in the initiative we are going to take. Without the second, we “imagine” to become career men, artists, politicians or businessmen. After the action, there must be a careful analysis of the results, to retrace what has been done and achieved and develop new behaviors or strategies. This period of reflection and learning allows us to be ready for a new cycle of actions, this time improved and supported by increased motivation.

In addition to teaching a positive and evolutive attitude, this approach also has the advantage of easing the tensions and the performance anxiety and of dismantling the belief that every outcome is definitive and the response engraved on the stone. Demonizing the failure means to become its slave; it’s much more productive to learn to see it in a different way.

Thinking back to a recent bad experience, what have you learned?

What three teachings do you assign to it?

If it is true that nothing happens by chance, what does this failure want to tell you?

How much did this failure get you closer to your goal?

And if the failure was a positive result?






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