Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Failure equals feedback

Failure is a concept that is added to the results of our actions. There are actions and results of those actions. Whether we think of the results as failure or success is not inherent in the actions or results — that is our interpretation, and that reflects our values and biases and unconscious drives.

Fear of failure will keep us from trying new things, from taking chances. That will keep us from reaching our highest potential. Failure is part of the process of learning and growing. Failure is feedback.

When we learn anything, we fail, repeatedly. We take it as feedback, adjust our methods and techniques, and get better. Fail upwards.

Thomas Edison went through thousands of iterations of the light bulb before he found the one that worked — he literally ran out of ways to fail.

In order to master a skill, ten thousand hours of practice is required. Each practice session has something to teach, some new aspect of the process is revealed. Be open to the feedback, and make adjustments.

Being too anxious about success is deadly. It can lock us up, preventing us from learning and improving. Our skill may be important, but anxiety about success can sabotage our efforts. Relaxation is important in any endeavor. An approach of gentle playfulness is best. It is good to care deeply about our projects, but holding them lightly, being slightly detached from the results, is important to learning. As a baby falls down repeatedly when learning to walk, we need to laugh, and get up, and do it again.


Dave Roel.
It takes a deep commitment to change and an even deeper commitment to grow.
- Ralph Ellison

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