Something that firmly separates winners from losers is the ability to rise above defeats and in many cases, famous people actually enjoyed some of their greatest victories immediately following defeat. Is it just a question of persistence; not knowing when you are beaten; or is there something more to it than that? Do Successful people learn from their failures and, if so, is failure a necessary precursor to success?
Clearly, the ability to just get back on your feet and have another go is an important characteristic and personally, I think that you can clearly see this quality in most, if not all successful people. But if you absolutely cannot make progress, if you are really facing an immovable object, then surely, it makes a lot of sense to simply try a different approach. In doing this, you are not giving up on your goal; you are simply taking an alternative route to your destination.
However, as strong a lesson as it is, I think there is more to the habit of continually learning from experience than simply being committed to a goal and persisting with it until you find the way because failure, I think, shapes us in a way that no other experience really can. You only have to study the lives of the people you admire the most to discover how they failed their way to success.
When you are heavily invested in the success of a particular project, perhaps having even staked everything you have on its success, and it turns sour, then you are into the kind of territory that very few people have ever trod. That’s the kind of experience that shaped some of the greatest successes in history. It is by learning from the experience that so few people can ever gain, that loftier goals and better plans can be forged. Yes, you will have to get up off the floor and try again. But, you will first lick your wounds, think deeply about the experience and regroup.
If you are trying to reach an ambitious goal and you feel you are not making the progress you should, then there are lessons to be learned. Here are some questions to ponder if you find yourself in that place:
- What have I learned through this experience?
- What is the root cause of this failure?
- How could this have been prevented?
- What did I overlook?
- What contingency might have saved the situation?
- Where is the silver lining?
- What am I taking away from this situation will be invaluable in the future?
When you fail, you should really welcome it. Of course, that’s not an easy thing to do, but that attitude does, as I said above, separate the winners from the losers.
We all know that ‘a winner never quits and a quitter never wins’ – that, I believe was something that Napoleon Hill once said. But there is a lot more to it than that. This is about persistence – yes – but it is also about learning the lessons that only those people who have ever stood where you are right at that moment will ever have the opportunity to learn.
You can really only ever appreciate the vital importance of some of your failures after you have finally succeeded. Looking back, you will be able to see that you would never have been able to overcome some situation had you not previous experienced failure. Remember that success will be all the sweeter when it comes. Stay committed – yes – you already know that don’t you? But also make sure you learn from every failure.