Failures are annoying. There is no way to pretend that it feels good to fail. Mistakes, failures or defeats in your job, private life or sport are threatening for your self-confidence and self-perception. Nobody likes to fail in a plan or project. We all prefer to be successful, it just feels better and we love the positive recognition by others.
But mistakes are part of our lives. Babies have to get up for hundreds of times before they succeed in walking. Every trial is part of a learning process and the basis for future success.
As adults we always will experience failures as soon as we try something new. The only safe way to avoid mistakes is, to stick to what we already can do. But this also means not getting better, missing the experience to develop, staying clear of new things to learn and taking any risks.
Failures are unavoidable during development. The difference between using the mistake as a future guidance or being paralyzed by failures is how we cope with setbacks.
How to avoid learning from your mistakes.
The best possibility to avoid learning the lesson after a mistake is denial. There is a great picture for failure: a dead horse. You could just accept the horse died and dismount. But you could try to saddle the horse differently, to put spurs to your horse, to motivate it, because maybe it’s not fully dead yet. Maybe if we strongly believe, it gets back on track.
The second effective possibility is to find people or conditions that are responsible for the failure. This perception is quite helpful because it does not compromise your self confidence and you can do the same mistake over and over again, because it was not your fault.
Mistakes are Lessons on the way to your Success.
If you are really crazy, you still might be interested in getting something positive out of a failure and to learn your lesson. To benefit from a failure, you must be quite honest to yourself about the processes which lead to the mistake. That’s not comfortable. But it changes the perception of a mistake from “miserable failure” to a “lesson on the way to success”.
Collecting determining factors for the failure is already a good start. Putting all these factors in brackets which are external and can’t be controlled by you is the next step (e.g. weather, illness). The remaining are factors that you can influence in order to make your project successful next time. It definitely takes some time and consideration to figure out what and how to change your course of action for the next time.
Maybe it can be part of your assessment to include good friends, colleagues or coaches and their opinion, because they are usually less involved in the whole process, which can be a good thing. Stay clear from people who pretend to know everything and who will tell you that they already knew everything before…. They just try to feel better by putting you down.
Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again. This time, more intelligently! (Henry Ford)