Do I have to fail before I can succeed?
48 Days Podcast listener Josh Bulloc asks: I have studied many entrepreneurs and successful people and most of them have gone through some sort of life trial which I correlate to becoming successful. I am concerned that I am not going to do well because I have not gone through that learning experience (yet). Your thoughts please.
We hear a lot about the failures of people who are ultimately very successful. I’ve certainly talked openly about my personal business flops on my way to where I am today. Many of you are familiar with Dave Ramsey and his big crash in real estate that set the stage for him to help others avoid those same mistakes and in the process recapture and surpass his former wealth.
So should we be helping people avoid mistakes? Are we preventing those people from experiencing their ultimate success? Are we prolonging the inevitable? Will their safe path now confine them to mediocrity rather than astounding success?
How do you view failure in your own life? Do you avoid it at all costs?
One of the most important lessons I ever learned regarding failure was in an illustration from Robert Schuller that I heard many years ago. He said to think about an athlete jumping a high bar. As long as that athlete clears the bar we really don’t how good he/she is. It is only when the bar is tripped (failure) that we have an accurate measurement of how good that athlete really is.
I want to know how high I can go. So that opens the door wide open for potential risks and failure. But if I fail I simply have a measurement of what I am capable of. As long as I am always successful I fear I may have set the bar far too low. I would be mortified if I achieved every goal I set for this year. Because I would wonder what I missed by not stretching more. Failure lets me know I’m pushing the limits of what is possible for me.
And that seems to be the major difference between high achieving people and average people – their response to failure.
Josh, I would never suggest that you create your own failure – just to get it over with. Trust me; if you are doing anything extraordinary, failure will find you. But then don’t bury your head in the sand. How we fail is at least as important as how we succeed.
I say push yourself; fail often. Push yourself to the limits of your talents, abilities, dreams, endurance and common sense. And then go one step further. Your failures will release your creativity and innovation more than education and careful planning can ever do.
Are you failing enough to reach extraordinary success?
“The one person to distrust is the one who never makes a mistake. Either he is a phony, or he stays with the safe, the tried, and the trivial.” — Peter Drucker