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6 Reasons Why Embracing Failure Helps You Succeed

6 Reasons Why Embracing Failure Helps You Succeed

“I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life and that is why I succeed.“ – Michael Jordan

Most people hate failure.

They don’t have what it takes to win and will be consistently impaired by the challenge and the disappointment on their journey.

Don’t get me wrong, failing sucks. Facing the dark throws of defeat and despair can make it hard to persevere. When life tells you that you aren’t good enough or that you don’t have what it takes, it can be challenging to fight on, but you must.

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Doing something that you can fail at means that what you are doing is worthwhile. If you didn’t push yourself or grow into someone new on a path of ease and comfort then life would certainly be boring and uninspiring.

What is even more awe-inspiring is just what failure can do for you. Failing can be one of the most incredible drivers to success and included here are the 6 ways that failure can help you succeed:

1. It sets you on a new path

When you fail, it could be a sign that you shouldn’t have been going in this direction, to begin with. This, of course, is if you recognize clearly that your goal or vision for what you wanted isn’t exactly what means the most to you.

Failing should hurt, but you should only proceed in a different direction if you don’t feel it within your core to go forward in your initial direction despite that failure. This means that your vision of success has to be compelling enough to drive you forward, even if it is hard.

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2. It reaffirms your previous direction

When you fall and then get right back up towards that same direction and goal you send yourself a message that you still want it even though you are going through pain and devastation to get there.

This strengthens your investment and your will to win. If you are willing to fight for your goal even when you have been put through pain and struggle then you tell yourself and the world that this is a worthwhile goal.

3. You tell yourself that you are worthy of the goal by fighting on

Fighting on despite disappointment shows you that you still believe in yourself. It shows that despite irrefutable evidence that you can’t do it, you will still strive to win. This action itself is communication to yourself that you will win.

When you have the opportunity to affirm the belief you have in yourself despite all the negative feedback, the judgment of others, and what happens to you in life, this can allow you to become more resolute in your goals. This is really a gift of failure.

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4. The challenges are what cause you to grow

Failure is just a sign for you to understand that you need to grow more. What some people have a difficult time in comprehending about failure is simply that it will mold and shape you into a person that can reach your destiny.

When you are sharpened by the challenges thrown your way and the despair of failure, this allows you to grow and become a better person. Look beyond the immediate pain and realize that it is only through the failures we face that turn us into the person that we really want to become.

5. Your failure leads to a compelling story

Through our biggest obstacles, the most incredible stories can be told. These are stories of you overcoming your biggest challenges and becoming the person you wanted to become. These are stories that shape your life and inspire others.

It would be sad to look on one’s life after having lived it only to realize that they had never failed. This likely would be a life of comfort and mediocrity. Without having failed then one wouldn’t have many great stories to tell or any noteworthy accomplishments to talk about.

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6. How you respond to failure inspires others

What you do in the face of failure will inspire and motivate others. How you show up when faced with the ultimate defeat will impact the lives around you. It can help them to achieve their biggest goals and this can drive you even further.

Your fans and your critics are watching to see what you will do in the face of failure. It’s not important to pay attention to your critics or even that you will fail because you will, but it is more important how you will show up in the face of such disappointment. When you take failure for what it is and strive on further towards your goal, others will notice and you could very well be the cause that inspires someone else to greatness.

Looking at failure in a different way can be one of the most profound changes that you will make in your life. The moment of failure sucks, but what you can gain from it might just transform your life.

Know that you are interested in the long-term rewards of becoming the person you want to become. Find joy in failing because the knowledge of such a thing means that you are even closer to your goals. Anything worth doing or any goals worth having are worthy of failing at. If you can’t fail at something then likely it is an uninspiring and fruitless path. What I have found is that the fails lead to your greatest successes.

Fail more today so that you can succeed tomorrow. Look back at your life and notice how just after you have failed, then came your biggest accomplishments.

What does failure mean for you?

More by this author

Shawn Schweier

Life Success Coach

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The Productivity Paradox: What Is It And How Can We Move Beyond It?

The Productivity Paradox: What Is It And How Can We Move Beyond It?

It’s a depressing adage we’ve all heard time and time again: An increase in technology does not necessarily translate to an increase in productivity.

Put another way by Robert Solow, a Nobel laureate in economics,

“You can see the computer age everywhere but in the productivity statistics.”

In other words, just because our computers are getting faster, that doesn’t mean that that we will have an equivalent leap in productivity. In fact, the opposite may be true!

New York Times writer Matt Richel wrote in an article for the paper back in 2008 that stated, “Statistical and anecdotal evidence mounts that the same technology tools that have led to improvements in productivity can be counterproductive if overused.”

There’s a strange paradox when it comes to productivity. Rather than an exponential curve, our productivity will eventually reach a plateau, even with advances in technology.

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So what does that mean for our personal levels of productivity? And what does this mean for our economy as a whole? Here’s what you should know about the productivity paradox, its causes, and what possible solutions we may have to combat it.

What is the productivity paradox?

There is a discrepancy between the investment in IT growth and the national level of productivity and productive output. The term “productivity paradox” became popularized after being used in the title of a 1993 paper by MIT’s Erik Brynjolfsson, a Professor of Management at the MIT Sloan School of Management, and the Director of the MIT Center for Digital Business.

In his paper, Brynjolfsson argued that while there doesn’t seem to be a direct, measurable correlation between improvements in IT and improvements in output, this might be more of a reflection on how productive output is measured and tracked.[1]

He wrote in his conclusion:

“Intangibles such as better responsiveness to customers and increased coordination with suppliers do not always increase the amount or even intrinsic quality of output, but they do help make sure it arrives at the right time, at the right place, with the right attributes for each customer.

Just as managers look beyond “productivity” for some of the benefits of IT, so must researchers be prepared to look beyond conventional productivity measurement techniques.”

How do we measure productivity anyway?

And this brings up a good point. How exactly is productivity measured?

In the case of the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, productivity gain is measured as the percentage change in gross domestic product per hour of labor.

But other publications such as US Today, argue that this is not the best way to track productivity, and instead use something called Total Factor Productivity (TFP). According to US Today, TFP “examines revenue per employee after subtracting productivity improvements that result from increases in capital assets, under the assumption that an investment in modern plants, equipment and technology automatically improves productivity.”[2]

In other words, this method weighs productivity changes by how much improvement there is since the last time productivity stats were gathered.

But if we can’t even agree on the best way to track productivity, then how can we know for certain if we’ve entered the productivity paradox?

Possible causes of the productivity paradox

Brynjolfsson argued that there are four probable causes for the paradox:

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  • Mis-measurement – The gains are real but our current measures miss them.
  • Redistribution – There are private gains, but they come at the expense of other firms and individuals, leaving little net gain.
  • Time lags – The gains take a long time to show up.
  • Mismanagement – There are no gains because of the unusual difficulties in managing IT or information itself.

There seems to be some evidence to support the mis-measurement theory as shown above. Another promising candidate is the time lag, which is supported by the work of Paul David, an economist at Oxford University.

According to an article in The Economist, his research has shown that productivity growth did not accelerate until 40 years after the introduction of electric power in the early 1880s.[3] This was partly because it took until 1920 for at least half of American industrial machinery to be powered by electricity.”

Therefore, he argues, we won’t see major leaps in productivity until both the US and major global powers have all reached at least a 50% penetration rate for computer use. The US only hit that mark a decade ago, and many other countries are far behind that level of growth.

The paradox and the recession

The productivity paradox has another effect on the recession economy. According to Neil Irwin,[4]

“Sky-high productivity has meant that business output has barely declined, making it less necessary to hire back laid-off workers…businesses are producing only 3 percent fewer goods and services than they were at the end of 2007, yet Americans are working nearly 10 percent fewer hours because of a mix of layoffs and cutbacks in the workweek.”

This means that more and more companies are trying to do less with more, and that means squeezing two or three people’s worth of work from a single employee in some cases.

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According to Irwin, “workers, frightened for their job security, squeezed more productivity out of every hour [in 2010].”

Looking forward

A recent article on Slate puts it all into perspective with one succinct observation:

“Perhaps the Internet is just not as revolutionary as we think it is. Sure, people might derive endless pleasure from it—its tendency to improve people’s quality of life is undeniable. And sure, it might have revolutionized how we find, buy, and sell goods and services. But that still does not necessarily mean it is as transformative of an economy as, say, railroads were.”

Still, Brynjolfsson argues that mismeasurement of productivity can really skew the results of people studying the paradox, perhaps more than any other factor.

“Because you and I stopped buying CDs, the music industry has shrunk, according to revenues and GDP. But we’re not listening to less music. There’s more music consumed than before.

On paper, the way GDP is calculated, the music industry is disappearing, but in reality it’s not disappearing. It is disappearing in revenue. It is not disappearing in terms of what you should care about, which is music.”

Perhaps the paradox isn’t a death sentence for our productivity after all. Only time (and perhaps improved measuring techniques) will tell.

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

Reference

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