While trying something new and succeeding is always nice, the more often failure side isn’t necessarily all that bad either. Here are 9 benefits you get when doing so:
- 1. You learn: Now you know what doesn’t work. When you try again, differently, you may fail again but then you learn another thing that doesn’t work. Eventually, usually when you’re about to give up, it works. As they say, the overnight success is usually coming from decades of hard work.
- 2. It’s New: When you fail that usually means you were trying something new. Being in the new is usually better than something repetitive, that’s what machines are for.
- 3. Laughter: It’s an everflowing source of comedy, after the crying from failing that is. The funny stories are rarely the ones where everything is perfect, the jokes come from the flaws, the reality of looking back and even though you failed, you learned something and still survived.
- 4. Being Alive: The anticipation of failing makes you feel alive. Call it butterflies in your stomach, such as if you’re a musician and getting ready to take the stage for a new tune you’ve never played live before. Will you forget your lines, the notes to play, anything else that could go wrong? In reality it’s no big deal other than your pride, but nevertheless the feeling you have helps you to focus 100% on what you’re doing, axing out all distractions and living in the now.
- 5. Helping Hands: Getting support from others, when others see you trying to do something, and struggling but moving forward, it can be like moths to a flame. If others observing you know how to help, they’ll usually be happy to lend their expertise, let you know the tweaks needed to move forward. This versus if you’re perfect all the time, no need for anyone to help.
- 6. New Doors: Sometimes failing at something can be good thing, as in this wasn’t really what you should be doing in the first place, giving room for something else to move in that’s more of a natural fit. Such as what if Johnny Cash was a successful door to door salesman, his songs would never have seen the light the day or if John Cleese was a successful lawyer, we might have missed the 100’s or 1000’s of laughs he inspired. Of course, this doesn’t mean every failure is an opportunity to quit, just that occasionally it can signify a detour that it’s time to put an end to, or least starting to open your eyes to something else.
- 7. Experiencing the Unknown: Usually when failing, that means you were trying something you’ve never done before, and hence are in the unknown, at least from your perspective. What’s the value of the unknown? Usually only what everything you know is building up to.
- 8. Building Confidence: Maybe not the second after you’ve failed, but when trying something else later on and it doesn’t work out, you know from experience that it’s only natural, stepping stones, and you take it in stride. Some might call them battle scars and if you don’t have any, maybe it’s similar to living in a bubble, eventually it pops and you’re grounded.
- 9. Feeling Young Again: When you’re a kid, you fail at everything as you don’t know anything, but it’s usually more fun and rarely something you regret.
Areas where you can find failure
So now that we’ve determined how failure is so great, what do you have to do or where do you have to go to find it? Pretty much anywhere as long as you’re up for it but here are a few examples:
- Hobbies: These can be perfect areas in getting your feet wet with failure as the downsides are extremely limited, you’re usually just doing for fun anyway.
- Education: I once met a professor whom taught a class called Failure 101, probably the most appropriate to get an A with. While it’s nice to get straight A’s with anything, most of real life is more than theoretical problems based on the past and success is moving forward in some areas while still learning or failing in others.
- Freelancing: Working with many different clients, often times starting at a point of something especially pressing, not working out, where a massive amount of catching up is needed. In these scenarios, even if you fix five things, it can still fail as there’s another five things left to be done.
- Technology/Development: The nature of the beast, technology is all about out with the old, in the with new and constantly doing something new always has delays as it hasn’t been done before, the unknowns to figure it out can end up being simple or far from it.
- Small Businesses: People that work in a small business have to juggle many different things, trying new products or new marketing ideas, if one out of five or ten things tried actually works, that’s usually a pretty good success/failure ratio.
- Startups: They say 90% of new businesses fail. Another way to look it is you need 10 business/product ideas and success is a done deal, or at least your odds should be dramatically improving. And seriously, does one really expect to hit it out of the park the first time at bat? Nothing wrong with singles and doubles, all relative depending where you’ve started.
Keep failing, learning and growing for your new ideas ready for exploring.