Fail big time to win big time. That’s the right mindset for sustainable success. How is that?
Imagine a world where there are no mistakes and where everything is correct and perfect. Now ask yourself, “If there were such a world, what would I do in it to give my life a meaning or a purpose?” You’ll find out that there’s nothing.
When you win you gain a prize or two. When you lose you win more: you actually learn something.
There’s nothing better than learning by doing because failure is the best educator out there. It challenges us like nobody else. It throws us into the woods or in the middle of the ocean so that we measure our progress and push ourselves harder.
Bottom line, failure isn’t a real failure as long as it’s a learning opportunity. Nothing is incorrigible after all.
Ever since we’re born, our mind collects sensory and conceptual data, analyzes them, solves puzzles, and stores the pieces to gain and archive knowledge. Our ancestors shared their wisdom through folklore. To me, that is a great act of kindness: to contribute to the world’s progress even after we die.
Decade after decade, we – the descendants – still go through the vicinities of life to learn, share, communicate, and improve… improve our intellect, health, skills, social status, public image, and legacy; improve our way of life as well as the life of others; improve our surroundings as well as defend the planet’s resources.
And all this learning and sharing and improving would have not been achieved without making mistakes and going through trials and errors. Hence, there’s no such thing as bad failure; there’s only the continuous process of learning and creating new information and transmitting it to the younger ones.
Furthermore, by experimenting with all sorts of ideas and approaches as well as thinking outside the box or differently, we free the children of the new world from the chains of the older one. And we need failure to make sure that we have the “right” information at hand and feel more at ease as we educate our youths.
Being on top of the world is everybody’s dream, but it simply is not possible. Even the wealthy and the famous face ups and downs, enter maturity zones and recession periods, but the reason why they remain on top of their game is their toughness, perseverance, and resilience.
Those who climb fast fall fast, and those who work hard fail hard. I’m not being a pessimist here. I’m just telling you things the way they are: what we call failure is an inevitability.
Hence, it makes perfect sense that we prepare for the fall as much as we prepare for the rise. Climbing the social ladder definitely teaches us life lessons but falling off of it teaches us more. It sharpens our axe to prepare us for a bigger success, and then for a bigger crash. After that, there comes even bigger successes and bigger crashes. On and on it goes, otherwise we cannot call this ‘life’!
It’s our duty towards ourselves and towards those who depend on us (in one way or another) to learn how to absorb setbacks, recover faster, and grow stronger. It’s beneficial to our community because it promotes the concept of sustainable success, and this by itself is a revolutionary act of kindness.
It surely is a pity to come to life and not learn from and about everything that lays before us. So, don’t be afraid to make mistakes (not deadly ones, of course!). You only live once; would you like to leave the world as the same person who entered it? No, we should all leave with glory because we’ve lived with fury.
Besides, we cannot spend a lifetime climbing and climbing and climbing. Why? First, it simply is not feasible for it goes against nature and all logic. Second, it’s mind numbing. And third, it’s energy draining. You’re still going to need failure from time to time in order to
- Rethink things over,
- Reassess your work plan,
- Restudy your personal philosophy, principles and core values,
- And finally, reemerge with a new energy to resume living to the fullest.
Now I’ll share with you my personal experience with having ambitions, failing time after time, and creating Folding Fox (which is the gradual result of all previous failures).
I can’t remember exactly when – maybe at the age of 23 – I submitted a full-length manuscript to all major French houses publishing novels. (I was into the French language back then.) Few answered. The replies were, “We won’t be publishing much novels this year.” “We prefer to deal with authors who have agents.” “We only publish for renowned authors.” Etc. One company left a very positive feedback. But I decided not to make a deal because of the contract they offered. A year later, I find out that the publishing house is closed.
After that, I started to consider self-publishing as an alternative , and the more I read about it the more I liked the whole thing. And so, at the age of 30, I started the blog because I needed an assertive online presence to prove how serious I am about being a published author.
Things went well at first. Very well. I was highly productive, got views from all my favorite places – Canada, The United States of America, and Japan – alongside few regional countries. But I couldn’t keep up with what I started for many reasons:
#1 (Mistake): I didn’t limit myself to one specific approach so I published whatever crossed my mind. At the end of the day, I myself wasn’t able to state clearly and briefly what my posts are about. If I was lost, so must have been my readers.
#2 (Mistake): I chose general topics which I’m interested in. Though they reflected a big part of me, they didn’t necessarily fit in the big picture of my future career. So, it looked more like an online magazine rather than what it should be: an author website that defines who I am, why I write, who’s my audience, what I write about, etc.
#3 (Fault): The previous mistake led me here. How was I supposed to build a coherent platform while I still haven’t discovered my greatest motives (personal philosophy, principles and values, key messages, etc.)? All I knew at the time is that I needed a domain and an awesome content. So I did, but my structure wasn’t complete yet.
#4 (Resolution): I finally realized that I needed to accept hard facts and move on; find a better formula. I told myself many times, “You cannot do everything. Prioritize!” “One person cannot do an army’s job. Work with the limited time you have at hand and find a clever way to live the dream no matter what.” “You have a versatile character, it’s good and bad at the same time. Channel your energy towards one direction, at least for the time being.” “You cannot gain full clarity overnight. Proceed with what you know for sure and keep working on the more complicated stuff. Eventually, you’ll have your answers.” And the most important part of this internal dialogue is, “Enjoy your tasks, your present, your future, your past, your struggles, your unsolved questions… enjoy everything there is to enjoy, dread, or celebrate. Every little thing! Because what you do with joy brings joy to others.
#5 (Closure): I know I have a lot more to offer. But I won’t rush myself. I don’t want to confuse anybody – me included. I won’t allow perfectionism or extremism to sweep away everything I have done so far.
Final thoughts: As you can see, I jumped from one “failure” to another. But to me they don’t feel like failure. They were trials with little or no success. Little achievements if you will. Like Winston Churchill said, Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm. Believe me, my enthusiasm is still there.
Today, I aim for bigger successes though I’m very happy with what I have right now, because it’s this growing happiness that’s keeping me in the zone. Thanks to it, I’ve become more serious about my ambitions and goals. I cannot even imagine what kind of happiness and what sort of difficulties are in store for me when I finish my first book. But I’m willing to go through it all. Otherwise, I’ll deceive myself greatly.
Posted in: Personal Growth