Don’t minimize failure — Chuck Johnston

 

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http://www.chuckjohnstone.com/

Don’t Minimize Failure

Failure

I love reading about famous people’s failure stories. The story usually goes something along the lines of “successful person x was rejected x number of times before making it big”. It’s an instant feel good and usually makes me think less about my own failures and rejections. But it also preys upon a collective belief that if you keep trying long enough you’ll eventually make it. I think it’s because these little anecdotes act as a quick pick-me-up when you’re feeling down and out. They also serve as a useful reminder that successful people have had their fair share of failure too.

My only concern is that these little quotes and anecdotes minimize failure. I think that this causes us to miss the overall point of failing. Failure is many things: it teaches us how to avoid mistakes, it offers lessons, it’s an opportunity for growth, and it sucks. If we’re too quick to dismiss our failures as little stumbling blocks we run the risk of learning nothing from them. Don’t cheat yourself by simply writing off failures.

I can tell you that I’ve made the mistake of brushing off failures and not recognizing lessons. If there’s any advice I can give now it’s in how to handle yourself after you fail. 1. Learn – Don’t waste an opportunity for growth. 2. Be gracious – Character can be measured by your actions after a defeat. 3. Make it your story – Use the failure as motivation, get a chip on your shoulder, make yourself the underdog.

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