“Sometimes you win, sometimes you learn.”
John Maxwell[featured-image single_newwindow=”false”]
Life is full of “firsts.” The first time you take a step. The first word. The first time you kiss. Your first car, your first job, your first child. Especially in the early years of our lives we experience a new first almost every day.
As the years pass, we experience fewer firsts. I think it’s partly because there are fewer things to experience, and partly because we become afraid to try new things. We look back at our list of failures, and it makes us wary and cautious.
Think about the experiences I mentioned above. How many of them did you do perfectly? The first step or first word? I know my first kiss was a disaster. Thrilling, yes, but definitely not perfect. I remember looking at my first child after he was born and realizing, “I have NO IDEA what I’m doing.”
Rarely are we perfect on our first attempt. Athletes faithfully practice hours on end for years and still miss shots or strike out. Musicians hit the wrong note, dancers fall, actors forget their lines. It’s just the way we’re wired.
Perhaps you’ve asked yourself the same question I have: “Why do I screw up so much?” Maybe a better question to ask ourselves is “what can I learn from my failures?”
Thomas Edison famously failed one thousand times in his effort to invent the light bulb. When asked by a reporter how it felt to fail one thousand times, his reply was inspirational to failures everywhere. “I have not failed,” said Edison, “I’ve just found 1,000 ways that won’t work.” Fact or fiction, the story is very instructive for each of us.
I have often asked myself, “At what point between 1 and 1000 would I have given up?” 100 attempts? 500 tries? I truly doubt I would have made it all the way to 1,000. I would have said, “This is pointless!” and given up. But again the words of Thomas Edison challenge me, “Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.”
I have changed my mind. I said earlier in this piece that we don’t experience “firsts” later in life because there is less to experience. That’s just ridiculous! Every day there are chances to experience something new. There are new sites to see, new sunsets to gaze upon, new mountains to climb. We just allow our failures to burden us down and stop us from trying.But what if we looked at failure differently? What if we took the Edison approach and viewed our failure as getting us one step closer to the success we desire? What if we looked at failure as a lesson learned? When we change our perspective, we virtually eliminate the possibility of failure. Mistakes and setbacks instead become steps along the path to success.
But what if we looked at failure differently? What if we took the Edison approach and viewed our failure as getting us one step closer to the success we desire? What if we looked at failure as a lesson learned? When we change our perspective, we virtually eliminate the possibility of failure. Mistakes and setbacks instead become steps along the path to success, points on the map that dot our journey.
And just like first steps, first kisses, and first kids, we keep on trying. Why? Because they are worth it.