“Far more learning comes from failure than success.”
Nobody wants to fail but learning from those who do may be the fastest and easiest way to achieve success.
During my career leading mountaineering and backpacking expeditions around the world, one of my favourite publications that I used to read was Accidents in North American Mountaineering. The yearly journal, published by the American Alpine Club, gave an in-depth analysis of several mountaineering accidents that happened throughout the year. You may think what a depressing read that would be. I want to hear about the people who made it to the summit.
When Was The Last Time You Bought A Book On Failures?
Too often, we are lured into the glamour of success. You hear about a person who has achieved great success in a project, in business, or in sports and you wonder “What did they do to achieve that? Perhaps if I do what they did, I will reach the same level of achievement”. You listen to their interviews, read their articles and books and perhaps buy their products because if you do what they did, you may reach the same level of success.
Early in my entrepreneurial days, I read dozens of books on entrepreneurship and subscribed to several entrepreneurial magazines. Looking back, it seems 85% of the books and 100% of the magazines I read were about entrepreneurial success, many of which seemed like overnight accomplishments. There was little talk about business failures and the learning that comes from them. As a young entrepreneur, I started believing this business thing was going to be fairly easy as everyone I was reading about was achieving great success with his or her business. I leaned that was not true soon enough.
By focusing solely on the successes, the publications (and their readers) were missing out on a tremendous amount of learning. In an industry that has a 90% rate of failure, there is no shortage of stories to write about and learn from. You can learn just as much from failure as you can from successes, if not more. We are usually quick to toss aside stories of failure for the glitz and glamour of success.
Success Comes From Doing the Right Things but Also, Not Doing the Wrong Things
To achieve a greater level of success in the things that matter the most to you, start taking a closer look at the failures around you in business and in life. Why didn’t that project achieve its goals? How did that accident happen? Why didn’t they win? What caused their relationship to end in divorce?
What many successful people don’t tell you is the amount of time they spend studying failures, their own and those of others.
There Is More Learning In Failure than Success
The host of a popular podcast I regularly listen to always asks his guests “When you think of success, who comes to mind and why?” I would rather he ask “What failure have you learned the most from, yours or someone else’s?”.
Action: Seek out failures to learn from in the areas you want to achieve success in and learn all you can.
Until next week… Embrace the Adventure
Shawn Stratton is an international leadership and team building consultant, professional speaker, bestselling author and Ironman competitor.
Click here to learn more about how Shawn can help your organization.
© 2016 Shawn Stratton. All rights reserved.