Fail fast and fail often. Success is a mindset. If I went to school saying this when I was a kid my teachers would think I was insane. The cold hard truth of the matter is that we’re taught as kids getting it wrong is a bad thing. I mean I understand the struggle though. How do you train a class of 30 children to memorise their work and then replicate it on a test sheet if you go around telling them that failure is OK? Knowing humanity like I do then they wouldn’t put enough effort into what it was they were learning.
Also, don’t get me wrong. There are some professions where failure is absolutely not an option. Imagine being an airline Pilot hurtling your passenger plane to a rocky mountain at 500 mph saying over the loudspeaker, “ah well, I was told to fail regularly. Everything will be fine” — it just wouldn’t work like that. What I am saying though, is that failure is in no way the end of the world.
As a twenty something man I used to take failure terribly to heart. Maybe I didn’t get the job I liked, or the cool guys didn’t invite me to their club, or even the pretty blonde girl said I looked like shit when I asked her on a date. It always crushed me to fail at something, and even worse if I failed badly at it. I used to be proud of my perfectionism! Everything had to be successful or I was a terrible person. This was my mantra well into my thirties.
Fail fast and fail often – It’s time to ditch the perfect mindset
I’ve written many times in the past that there’s no such thing as perfection. Everything is flawed in some way or another and the more you try and hide those flaws the harder life will be. This is what I was doing — hiding my flaws because I was striving for the perfect outcome and every time the outcome wasn’t to plan the more I tried to hide it. It’s not a good look to the experienced eye.
It’s okay if you’re not a highly successful person yet, maybe you’re not in that zone in your life at the moment, but pretending you are to get in the right groups — people will see that a mile off and it’ll just make you look bad. It’s also okay if the project you run isn’t quite Tesla yet, there’s a learning curve every business owner has to go through before they become highly successful. That’s why very few make it, because few are willing to hold steady through massive failure and every business will go through it at some point. The key is learning how to adapt.
My project was nearly a catastrophic failure at one point. The Man Cave Project nearly died an early death when the funds that were lent out to me to start the project were hauled back in very early on in our infancy. I had two options. To stop functioning and just rethink my plans, or to move ahead as if nothing had happened, and continue to build. I was upfront and honest about it with my community and they voted to go ahead with everything. Thus, the man cave became one of the most successful projects on the Hive Blockchain, but not through trail and error and many fails in the process.
You see, most people understand failure. Most people understand mistakes. They are relatable because everyone fails and everyone makes mistakes. Even Elon Musk makes mistakes contrary to popular belief. People are more likely to give you some space if you’re upfront and honest about your mistakes, your failures, things you’re lacking in and so on if you’re at least honest with them. Try and cover it all up and it just seems like you’re being false.
Why fail though? That sounds silly
It comes from the thought that most people learn their lessons through difficult situations. I for example would have never learned that perhaps I need to change my life path if I hadn’t ended up in care. I would have never learned that money doesn’t grow on trees if I hadn’t tried out most of what I believed about the economy. Failing is good. It teaches you what NOT to do in life. Once you find success then you can pull back on all the times that you’ve failed and use that to keep on the right path.
Think of it as a way to learn through your mistakes. Constantly re-evaluating the way you work and adjusting it so to not make the same mistakes again. In the business world they call that trial and error in the sense that we know that when we start something there will be errors in our flow of working, and that we are constantly updating it to adjust for them.
Bill Gates probably went through the same thing
It might be silly to think, but yes, someone as successful as Bill gates, or Elon Musk has went through a tremendous amount of trial and error to get what they wanted. Think of it. Tesla didn’t just instantly appear and be instantly successful. No, it took Tesla many years of menacingly tedious failings to eventually get it right.
The same with the Gates foundation. I came from a time when Windows was terrible and Gates was a noob on the scene. 30 years later? We have a Billionaire and an immense wealth spread that touches the four corners of the earth. I’m sure Mr Gates went through his fair share of trial and error — and even as I write this I am sure he still is.
Learning to fail also helps with stress
When you’re accustomed to failing, and trial and error, then getting it right the first time doesn’t seem like such a plausible feat. Most things that we do for the very first time we are terrible at. Do you ever remember the first time you approached a girl? Or the first time you went for a job interview? Or even your first time as a parent? None of us were world leaders at the beginning, and, if I can recall from my own experiences I sucked hard at almost all of these. Bombed hard at it so to speak. But, through time and effort I learned to get better and more efficient at what I was taking my hand to.
That doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t try your best at whatever you put your hands to though, no. It just means that even although you are trying your best, if it’s new to you then you are going to suck at it for the first few times, and that’s okay because everyone has been in the same situation before at the beginning of the ladder.
Even Thor in the MCU has had to learn some pretty tough lessons through his mistakes. And that’s okay, because every one of us, tall and small can relate to that.
Knowing that you’re going to fail is going to give you the edge over others, because when they crumble at the first hurdle, you can pick yourself up and think to yourself, “well, this is part of the process” — and that separates the men from the boys.
It’s not about blazing glory, it’s about small adaptions
The bigger the failure, the harder it is to get up from it to try again. If you can take one thing away from this it’s try and minimise your failures. It’s good to get it wrong, but probably not good to go screaming down in a blazing hell fire of glory. This tends to happen when failings get ignored. Rather than being honest with what’s happening people tend to ignore it and let it build up. When it comes to rectifying it, by then it’s not only harder to sort out, but it’s way further down the road than it should be. It’s often hard to come back from that.
In a real world example — Imagine your wife is telling you to please listen to her a little more. You think she’s just being too emotional and carry on as you are. Six months of this and her bags are packed and she’s ready to leave you. Six months of your failure to listen to her has mounted up daily until she’s finally had enough. Pretty hard to come back from that scenario.
Now imagine that your wife is telling you to please listen to her more. Immediately you accept that you’ve failed and plan to do as she asks, checking in with her each week that she’s happy with you listening. Once a week should do, don’t want to overdo it like some needy loser. Anyway, this way you’ve cut the problem out at its root.
I don’t know about you but scenario 2 seems far more easier to deal with than scenario 1.
So it’s ok to get things wrong, we are all learning our way through life, and we totally have the choice to act on our failures or ignore them! But ignore them at your peril!