Most of the times we treat failure as if it’s a disease. They are want to quickly recover from it, hide it away in the closet and are embarrassed to discuss it. Too often we try to follow the plan for success without considering the full context of the success, i.e. the failures that also occurred. We should learn from it instead of just recovering from it – after all failures let us test our strengths and weaknesses. We should study failure to avoid mistakes. Instead of focusing on “how to win”, we should understand “how not to lose”.
I believe everyone learns and always remember their failures. These failures improve your ability in judgment and decision-making. Smart companies balance accountability while giving folks the opportunity to fail in order for improvements to manifest. Innovative companies would be less innovative if people weren’t comfortable with taking risks for fear of severe penalties.
But before anything else, we should accept this and support this culture of not running from our mistakes but embrace them with a root cause and corrective action philosophy. We can easily co-relate to the current working environments where everyone focuses on just resolving the cause rather than finding the root cause. If the underlying root cause is not found and fixed, impending failure is bound to happen. Failure is an extreme opportunity to learn don’t let it pass by without garnering as much information out of it that you can.
However, very important thing here is an ability to analyze of own failures and get very simple answers on very simple questions “why did this happen?” and “what can I do this failure to not repeat it?”. In my opinion, self-control and self-analyze are the important parts of success. Every time we fail, we should look at an issue from different perspectives in order to solve it. It is definitely a little counter-intuitive and therefore not always easy to step back and see the forest for the trees, but definitely a reminder to pause, and think outside the box.
Management chant things like “don’t bring me problems, bring me solutions” while science chant “don’t bring me your rotten old second-hand solutions, bring me problems we can get our teeth into”. In pharmaceutical industry, 95% of drug candidates fail in clinical development, and most of those that do make it to market fail to generate a positive return on investment. In other words, at least 98% of what the scientists need to know about developing a new drug is buried in their past failures. On that basis, it would be better to invest just a fraction of the cost of one failed drug to dissect and understand why other drugs (or even just that one drug) have failed, rather than spending it on yet another new drug candidate that has a 98% chance of failure. But that’s just an opinion. They would have their own scientific reasons for drug discovery.
Books can’t teach us the lessons failure teaches. We need to fall (some times more than others) before we can walk. Even failures can be used as bad examples instead of hidden in closets and stop someone from not repeating it. Both are equal in value. Perspective is the only variable that allows a differential comparison to be made between the two. We can’t have one without the other.
All that positive thinking, click-your-heels-and-wish approach to success is just Wizard of Oz stuff. We might get lucky, and we might win the lottery, but we didn’t have a recipe for success. Whatever approach – we sure don’t accept what anyone else tells that it can’t be done – ever. Someone told me once: “When someone tells you it can’t be done, they’re actually saying “here’s a failure, examine it, pull it apart, see if you can do better”
Failure is a step in the right direction of success. Most people hit failure and turn around thinking success must be in the other direction…Noooooooo! As the saying goes ‘if you have never experienced failure or any difficulty in your life you are not yet born’.
May we be among the lucky ones and turn our failures into something special and great!!