A few weeks back I went golfing for the first time. I went out on the course with the expectation of shooting something that resembled my shoe size more than my age – though after the fourth hole, the latter seemed the most likely.
At the end of the course, I walked away with an abysmal +30 score. By all measures, I had failed miserably – but I wasn’t miserable, I was excited! My failure to play a “good” round of golf did not deter me – and the fact that the next round I played would be a similar disaster did not dampen my spirits. I knew eventually, after a long line of failures that there would come a time where I would shoot under par. I just needed to fail some more before I could do succeed.
In business we are taught that failure is the ultimate f-word. I say bull. To any intelligent person, failure is the second best outcome of a situation. Every failure makes you stronger – not just giving experience in one insular circumstance, but hundreds of other similar circumstances throughout in the future. One failure today will prevent a hundred more over the next twenty or thirty years.
If I gave you a piece of paper and had you catalogue everything you did that was perfect in one column and every mistake in another – which column would be longer? True, chronic failure is not desirable, but to those who learn from each mistake the chances of success increase exponentially. In the end, one great success will wipe out reams of paper filled with failures.
If you aren’t failing, you aren’t trying. That is why I wake up every day ready to fail. Because failure is not a curse word, a black spot or an anathema – it’s the leading indicator for success.