Learn to Fail Fast

Success Failure Sign PostAll your life you’ve been taught that self-worth comes from success, not failure. This is a complete lie. It’s true that success is great and wonderful and a worthy goal to pursue.

But what worth is it if you didn’t learn anything?

We learn the most from our failures not our successes (assuming that we open our minds to learn from them).

Okay, so maybe you’ve heard this before. So what does it all mean? It seems all too philosophical, “In order to succeed, one must fail.”

For me, it’s about learning. It’s about the journey. If you don’t struggle to find the best answer possible, you won’t appreciate it once you have it.

Now there the phenomenon that proves this wrong when an individual gets lucky. That person will be hard pressed to duplicate the success, however, not knowing how he got it to begin with.

So perhaps the definition of success can be defined as someone who doesn’t quit after failing. Better yet, someone who learns from failure, pivots the line of thought, makes improvements, and then keep moving forward.

One of my all-time favorite professional sports figures, Michael Jordan, said it best:

I’ve missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.

According to Mike, if you aren’t failing, you aren’t succeeding. Perhaps due to fear of failure we hold back and do nothing. We may not fail, but we definitely won’t succeed and that is a true failure.

The same is true with a company launching a new product or service.

Tina Seelig, Executive Director of the Stanford Technology Ventures Program, reports that failure is the secret sauce of Silicon Valley?

Tina Seelig Fail Fast and Frequently

So what’s my newest failure? I was using my precious side developing time to create a blog from scratch using AWS when I could be creating an awesome new cloud service. On top of that, I got my February bill from AWS and it was costing way too much than I was willing to pay.

That is what led me to convert my blog back to WordPress. That will help me focus and it actually frees up a lot of stress.

My Finish Year 2012 goal of creating a website with AWS is now complete. Yay! Now it’s on to the next one.

Question: What are your thoughts on failing fast and frequently in order to ultimately succeed?

  • Rodrigo B. Ferreira

    Failure is essential to learning for 2 reasons. The process of trying to do something hard is made of a series of attempts (or failures) and those are the preparation steps to succeed. And the other reason is that we remember much more clearly our failures, specially the big ones, because of the strong feelings of disappointment, shame, embarrassment or shock!
    I don’t know if learning how to fail is possible, but a positive attitude, optimism and a determination to keep trying after a failure will carry us farther and make us happier people!!!
    Watch this video of famous failures:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y6hz_s2XIAU