Failure is Your Best Friend
Anything less than complete success is a failure.
That’s right, I said it: Failure! Now let’s get over the charge of this word because the sooner you can release yourself from the negative connotation of the word ‘failure’ the sooner you can start to use it for what it is: your greatest asset.
First of all, failure is a binary concept. You either got what you said you wanted or you didn’t. There is no ‘try’ or ‘almost.’ It’s a yes or no. I’ll use sport as an example here. A man may set a goal that states “I will run a marathon in 4:20 mins or less.” If he arrives at the finish line at 4:30, it’s a failure. This is not to say that he didn’t train his heart out, or eat the right things, or get the right amount of sleep or that he isn’t a great person. All this tells us is that he didn’t get what he said he would. He came really close though. Many people at this point, would take this as a success because of how close it was to their stated goal, and would move on.
I offer, though, that we could observe in other area’s of this person’s life that they have many examples of ‘almost’ in their careers, health and relationship goals. A huge opportunity is missed when we settle for 95%. When you change the language to include the binary concept of failure, you can clearly evaluate your attempts at your goals, and do what needs to be done to meet your outcomes 100%.
What needs to be done? You’re wondering. You must look at goal getting as a process and a feedback loop. If you didn’t get your goal 100%, there was something wrong with the process. Notice how this has nothing to do with the runner’s character as a person, but merely the process he may have gone through to train for and run that marathon. Looking at your goals as a never-ending feedback loop gives you the resources to figure out what needs changing, and change it.
The key to the feedback loop, of course, is to recognise what’s wrong straight away, and make small tweaks along the way. Tony Robbins said “the difference between great and outstanding is 3mm’ or the difference between a 4:30 marathon and a 4:20, comes down to a small change.
First, give yourself a chance to learn from your ‘almosts’ and give up your attachment to the word failure. It’s only feedback, my friend, as is the best way to look back on the process to make changes as needed. All failure indicates is that you’re even closer to your goal than you thought.