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Last Updated on July 3, 2020

13 Reasons Why You Should Fail Fast to Learn Fast

13 Reasons Why You Should Fail Fast to Learn Fast

It’s normal to view failures as negative impacts that have detrimental consequences. In actuality, failing is as natural of a process as succeeding is. In any profession, failure means giving yourself more opportunities to grow, to develop, and to truly learn something new. One of my favorite quotes that changed my mindset is:

Growth and comfort do not coexist.

To grow means you’re willing to take risks and evolve. The only way to evolve and change is to fail. You’re probably thinking, Wait, I thought success allows you to evolve? The answer is still yes; success promotes evolution and change. However, to reach that point, you must experience numerous failures with the goal of revealing a bigger picture.

When I reflected on my past failures, I realized something: They didn’t destroy or abolish me. In fact, they were like primers preparing me for a second chance.

Failures promote mental, emotional, and even physical growth. We forget that in any given situation, a second chance or opportunity is available in the future. Only if we apply ourselves will we be able to access this new way of thinking.

As a creative individual, I used to view failure as an end-all-be-all. I’d often kick myself if I screwed something up or acted on impulse. We want our success to happen now—fall from the sky and into our laps this minute. The reality is, anybody who has become successful also experienced numerous failures. And that’s why they’re successful: trial, error, retrial, and then success.

At the retrial stage, you should’ve learned something from your error or failure. Like anything in life, if we give power to our failures, we’ll never do it again, and it’s a fatal response. Never trying again is giving in to the negativity of failing at something. You may feel the loss is too significant.

Really, failures can be blinding and discouraging. They can cause us to lose sight of our goals and aspirations. Accepting that failure is a part of every success story is a stepping stone toward achieving the goals you so desperately want to achieve.

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Author Elizabeth Gilbert said transformations can only happen in ruins. Therefore, let your work and life fall apart if necessary, so that you can reshape and repurpose everything. While in ruins, incredible things begin to reform. And if you view failure as falling into ruins, perhaps this article will help shift your mindset.

I’m going to break down why failure is a good, positive and enriching thing and help you transform your mindset about it. Here are the 13 reasons why you should fail fast:

1. A New Route Is Created From Failure

Failing should be viewed as an opportunity to create a new route. If you feel that you failed at something, journal about it or do some self-reflecting and see what emerges. Instead of giving up after a failure, create another route or path and try again. You’ll gain new insights and a different direction that could get you out of a creative block or a jam.

Sometimes life diverts our path, and we must adapt. Failures may divert our paths, too, so it’s crucial to adapt and embrace them. Thinking and approaching it that way will lead you somewhere different, often to a new and better outcome.

2. You Learn to Identify What Works

Just about every field or industry you go into or are in, failing should help you identify what works and what doesn’t.

Once you’ve figured out why something didn’t manifest, you’ll have another chance to do something in a different way. There is beauty in trying something again and realizing what you did wrong previously. This is when evolution starts to take shape.

3. You Gain New Knowledge in Your Craft or Work

Failures don’t have to equal loss. Rather, they can be gains.

To reach a certain point in your career, you must fail in order to gain new knowledge or perspectives. Creative or not, failures expand our minds and encourage growth. The next time you find yourself in a situation when you’ve said, “Gosh, I dropped the ball on that one,” follow that with an affirmation.

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Give yourself permission to gain something beneficial. Thus, failure can’t be perceived as a setback, and instead, it’ll be a leap toward success.

4. You Set Yourself up for a Second Chance

Failures can only set you up for second chances. Quitting is the most fatal thing you can do. It won’t promote growth. It will result in depletion of motivation, drive, and discipline. Granted, at the moment, a failure can be difficult to digest.

Remind yourself there are other chances and opportunities. Failures can only set us up for success in the future, but it may take a lot of reminding that a second chance is available to you.

5. You Get Thicker Skin

Another benefit when you fail fast is that you’ll develop thicker skin. This thick skin will keep you emotionally neutral and balanced. You’ll be prepared to tackle any challenges that come your way.

Mindset is everything in any given situation where failure occurs. See it as a skin thickening agent, and you’ll be more equipped and resilient farther down the road.

6. You Will Build Emotional Resilience

Emotional resilience[1] means you don’t go bat crazy after you’ve dropped the ball or something didn’t work out. How you respond to situations, events, and failures determines where you’ll wind up in the future.

People remember reactions the most, and reacting irrationally will only work against you. Bouncing back emotionally can be rough, depending on the circumstance. However, the less time you spend consumed in negativity and “why me?” self-loathing, the quicker you’ll move forward to those great things you wish to achieve.

7. You’ll Inspire Others

Someone near and dear to me said the perfect thing at the perfect time when I felt that I’d failed at something. They told me that I should fail fast and often because, then, my story would be even more inspiring.

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Before any entrepreneur or corporate worker reached their destination, they failed dozens and dozens of times. There are authors, such as J.K. Rowling, who were rejected again and again before they became authors. Nobody became somebody without failing first. Don’t forget that.

8. A New Way of Organizing Develops After Failure

Preparation and organization are key ingredients one needs to be successful. The good news is that a failure forces us to reorganize and restructure our work lives.

Through a new organization and structure, a new sense of self will form. You’ll be compelled to reboot your workspace and any area in your professional life that feels cluttered or in disarray. This new change will enhance curiosity and be another key element in moving forward.

9. Failure Resets Your Focus

After I experienced major letdowns, I noticed a shift in my focus. That’s not to say my focus wasn’t there before, but my second time around, my attention to detail was sharpened and more precise. Only with fresh lenses are we able to visualize a clearer path toward where we need to go.

Failures can be powerful forces capable of rewiring our minds, thoughts, and actions. Resetting your focus means finding a new way of approaching a situation in your work life that you might have initially overlooked.

10. Failure Strengthens Your Mindset

A stronger mindset provides emotional stability and balance, especially when everything hits the fan. In life, setbacks and failures are a part of human nature and growth. Leonardo Da Vinci, a man who was 500 years ahead of his time, is known more for his failures than successes—what he dared to imagine and bring to fruition is what he’s famous for, whether his inventions worked out or not.

You’re not known for what you do; rather, you’re known for the kind of person you are: curious, a risk-taker, someone who persevered and remained strong regardless of how disappointing things became. A curious mind is one that is willing to keep exploring, keep building, and doing so without fear of failure attached.

11. You’ll Experience a Transcendence

The word transcendence means “existence or experience beyond the normal or physical level.” Philosophers describe transcendence as a climb beyond. The difference between failure and success is what we choose to take from both[2].

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Only failure allows such a divine transcendence to manifest, and this manifestation happens in our minds. Only failure can lead us toward a change that will result in something monumental and life-altering.

12. Failure Leads to Mastery

No matter what field you’re in, trial and error is basically a science experiment. It’s a process of trying and failing. The willingness to keep trying results in mastering your craft. Individuals in creative and technical jobs must undergo this process daily.

As a creative person, I’m constantly testing something out and redoing it later. It wasn’t until recently when I realized I was mastering my craft and learning from deconstruction as opposed to constructing. Every time I’ve had to start over or redo something, by the second trial, I’ll nail it.

13. Failure Encourages Mental and Emotional Growth

Failures also result in mental and emotional growth. Curiosity drives us to explore, do more, solve problems and find solutions in our work lives. Our failures grant us an empowering dose of mental extension. Our thoughts and perceptions of failures and successes strengthen in this growing period.

If we perceive failure as an end-all-be-all, we’re robbing ourselves of an enriching transformation.

The Bottom Line

Instead of striving to be the next big thing or success, fail fast and often. A whole array of benefits comes from failure.

Interestingly, I’ve noticed a conflict amongst humanity that is overlooked: People fear success as much as they fear failure. In reality, failure is not something you should be afraid of—it’s a learning curve. If you take the time to reflect on everything you’ve viewed as a disastrous failure, you might be pleasantly surprised when you realize it wasn’t so disastrous after all. It got you somewhere.

Failure is the key ingredient that will unlock all kinds of life-altering experiences. Don’t resist or live in fear of something that can only bring you to the place you desire to go.

More About How to Fail Fast

Featured photo credit: Kelli McClintock via unsplash.com

Reference

More by this author

Tessa Koller

Author, Motivational Public Speaker and Artist

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Last Updated on July 10, 2020

How to Live Your Best Life Starting Today

How to Live Your Best Life Starting Today

As human beings, one of our deepest-rooted desires is to have a meaningful and happy existence. You’ve probably heard of the saying, “Live your best life.” It’s good advice.

We all want to feel connected to both ourselves and others. We want to feel that we’re part of something important and that we’re making a difference in the world.

We want to look back at our lives and our achievements and be proud. In short, we want what the saying says: to live our best lives.

But what does it really mean to live your best life?

You are a unique individual, so living your best life is exclusive to you. Your best life will reflect your true values. It will be made up of what makes you happy and will be colored by what making a difference means to you.

What Stops You From Living Your Best Life?

While living your best life is all about you, what other people think can have an impact on your quest to live your best life.

Social media, for example, puts us under a lot of pressure. There are specific expectations of what “happy” looks like, and we’re under pressure to conform to what society expects.

For example, we are pressured to look a certain way, wear the “right” clothes, have exciting adventures with eye-catching friends, eat ethical and healthy food, and do charity work.

These are only a few of society’s expectations. It’s a long list.

Social media claims to connect us, but often it can do the opposite.

We can spend so much time worrying about what other people are doing, trying to live the life that society expects of us, that it can be easy to lose track of what makes us happy and what our best life actually looks like.

Start the Journey

What does it look like to live your best life? The following are some practical tips and tools to move from living your current life to living your best life.

1. Be the Best Version of Yourself

To live your best life, you must be the best version of yourself. Don’t try to be something or someone else. Don’t try to be what other people want you to be.

Focus on who you want to be. Play to your strengths and be proud of what makes you different. You are brilliant.

Gretchen Rubin, in her book Happiness Project, created her own commandments. The first one was “Be Gretchen.” This gave her permission to follow her gut feeling and make up her own rules.

For example, she stopped forcing herself to enjoy parties, cocktails, and fashion just because that’s what she thought society expected.

So, inspired by Gretchen, create your own commandment: “Be more YOU,” and remind yourself of this every day, unapologetically.

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2. Observe Yourself

To work out what the best you looks like, you must get to know yourself better. It’s your best life after all – not anyone else’s.

Start to notice how you respond to various situations. What are your habits? What makes you happy? What frustrates you? How do you behave under pressure? What gives you energy? What drains you?

Spend a week simply noticing. Write your observations down so you remember.

3. Identify Your Bad Habits

As part of your observations, start to notice your bad habits. Consider the things that don’t ultimately make you feel good.

Does scrolling mindlessly through Instagram make you happy? For 5 minutes, perhaps, but for longer?

That last glass of wine was delicious, but do you pay the price later?

That chocolate was enjoyable at the moment, but now that the sugar high is over, are you feeling regretful?

Observe yourself first. Then, start to deliberately do more of the things that make you happy and give you energy.

At the same time, work on reducing then eliminating the habits that squander your time, drain your energy, and ultimately don’t make you happy.

Need help conquering your bad habits? Read How to Break Bad Habits Once and For All.

4. Set Intentions

After having thought about what makes you happy and what drains your energy, focus on what living the best life looks like for you.

One of the keys to this is being intentional about it. When you deliberately set intentions, you are more likely to act with purpose and drive.

Setting intentions is different from setting goals. Goals are your list of things you want to achieve. You can set them daily, monthly, yearly, or a combination.

A common practice is to define goals and write them down. This makes them more tangible and makes you more accountable, therefore, making the goals more likely to happen.

The subtle yet important difference between goals and intentions is that when setting intentions, you decide what kind of positive feelings and emotions you are seeking.

For example, “This week, my intention is to approach my admin tasks with gusto in order to complete them more quickly.”

Intentions can be more motivating than goals because if you don’t achieve your goal, it can feel like a failure and can ultimately hold you back.

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If you don’t achieve your intention to approach something in a specific way, you can more easily regroup and have another try.

Write down your intentions every month, week, or day, using whichever time frame works best for you.

For example, “I intend to enjoy going swimming three times this week” or “I intend to assertively build my network in my local area this month.”

Setting intentions gives you something to focus on, and it also helps to manage the feeling of being overwhelmed that often happens when we set ourselves goals.

5. Visualize Living Your Best Life

Visualization can help you to cement your intentions. It involves visualizing how it would feel to live your best life once you achieve it.

It can help you to further establish what you want and allow you to settle into a positive mindset.

To visualize, first choose your focus. Choose a specific intention and how you will feel once it is accomplished. Then, take the time to daydream and allow your imagination to wander.

For example, if your intention is going swimming three times a week, imagine what you will look and feel like:

  • What will you wear?
  • How do you get there?
  • What time of day do you go?
  • How do you feel when you’re in the water?
  • How do you feel afterward?

Ask yourself these little questions and allow yourself to feel the same feelings you would feel if you were currently fulfilling your intention.

10 Ways to Live Your Best Life

Now that you’ve decided and visualized what your best life looks like, let’s look at some more practical steps you can take to achieve it.

1. Focus

Whatever you do, focus. If you swim, swim. If you study, study. Multitasking is a myth. It’s not possible to do more than one thing at a time well. Focused work is the least tiresome and the most productive type of work.

Michael LeBouf, the author of The Millionaire in You, said,

“Winners focus, losers spray.”

2. Take Responsibility for Taking Action

Taking action can feel scary. We fear failure, but we can also fear success. It can be easy to feel too busy to achieve your intentions.

However, you have the choice to take action and live your best life or stay the same. It’s up to you, so take responsibility to take action.

3. Live in the Present

Every day is a new opportunity to live your best life. We so often get stuck because we put things off.

We can think, “When I’ve lost 10 lbs I’ll go swimming,” or “When I feel more confident I’ll look for a new job,” or “When I get my new running shoes I’ll start running.”

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How about starting from where you are? How about using what you already have?

We often put off taking action until we have the newest phone/camera/game/course/book/shoes as if they are the keys to happiness. In the process, we forget about what we already have.

Grab the camera that you have, put on your old running shoes. Go and do something interesting today with what you’ve got. Fancier gadgets, better clothes, or a slimmer body won’t make you better.

Action will.

4. Declutter

This applies to the environment you live in as well as the people you spend time with. Use Marie Kondo’s decluttering method of asking, “Does it bring you joy?”[1]

If your answer is yes, you keep the item. If you hesitate or say no, you donate it or throw it out. Simple.

This also applies to people. If there are people in your life that make you feel bad, drain your energy, and don’t bring you joy, let go of them.

Instead, spend time with the people and activities that give you energy and make you feel good.

5. Relish the Simple Things

When we’re busy, we can forget to appreciate what we have. Take time to focus on the simple things. Even when you’re feeling low, there’s always something to be grateful for.

In positive psychology research, gratitude is strongly and consistently associated with greater happiness.[2] Be deliberate in being grateful for what you do have, rather than resentful of what you don’t.

6. Journaling

Journaling

is simply writing your thoughts down.

According to the University of Rochester Medical Center, writing your thoughts and feelings down on paper not only helps you get your thoughts in order, but it can also help ease symptoms of depression and manage stress and anxiety.[3]

In the chaos of life, it is easy to overthink, feel anxious, or not appreciate what you do have. Journaling can help you manage your thoughts and feelings and productively cope with life.

Be curious and keep learning. Ask more questions and keep pushing yourself to step outside of your comfort zone and learn.

What are you interested in or curious about? Perhaps it’s learning more about where you live, or reading up on a particular topic? Maybe it’s traveling to a new town or country?

According to Dan Pink’s research, learning is a key motivator.[4] Whether you feel like you’ve gotten stuck in a boring routine or you’re stressed by the tasks of daily life, learning something new is a way to step outside yourself and your comfort zone.

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Create a bucket list of all the things you’d like to do and learn and the places you’d like to go to, and start ticking them off.

7. Make Someone’s Day

Being kind to others makes them feel good, and it also releases chemicals in your body that make you feel good. Think about a time you gave someone a gift that they loved. How did you feel?

You don’t have to start giving people gifts to make someone’s day. Think about small, thoughtful gestures: a genuine compliment, opening the door, offering to help someone.

All these things can make a big difference in someone’s day.

8. Look After Your Body

Eat what nourishes you, including plenty of vegetables and fruit and food that’s natural and unprocessed. Drink plenty of water.

Exercise because you like it, not because you’re supposed to go to the gym.

Reject the idea that you have to push yourself really hard at exercise, and instead try out a variety of things – for example, walking the dog, gardening, yoga, swimming, or dancing.

Find what you enjoy. When you enjoy something, you’ll be motivated to do it more.

Get good rest! We’re all different in terms of the amount of sleep that we need. However, most adults need between 7 and 9 hours of sleep.

If you’re not getting that much, then check out healthy sleep tips from the Sleep Foundation.[5]

More tips for staying healthy: Powerful Daily Routine Examples for a Healthy and High-Achieving You.

9. Manage Your Inner Critic

Most people have an inner critic that tells them they are not good enough, that they’re a fraud, and that they are going to be found out.

This happens especially when we step out of our comfort zone and change things. If you are living your best life, your inner critic likes to jeopardize that.

The next time it appears, acknowledge what’s happening and call it out. Whatever it is telling you, list all the reasons it’s wrong.

10. Be Prepared to Change the Plan

You may have set intentions to live your best life. However, life is not linear, nor does it work in lists. You must expect to be flexible and change the plan as life throws things at you.

The end game remains the same: to live your best life. It’s just the route to get there that will inevitably change.

Conclusion

Live each day like it counts, and remember, it’s your choice. Your best life is unique to you. Don’t compare yourself to others – focus on living your best life, and enjoy the learning, exploration, and experiences along the way.

More Tips on How You Can Live Your Best Life

Featured photo credit: Juliana Malta via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Kon Mari: Tidy your space, transform your life
[2] Harvard Health Publishing: In Praise of Gratitude
[3] University of Rochester Medical Center: Journaling for Mental Health
[4] Daniel H. Pink: Dan Pink on Motivation
[5] Sleep Foundation: Healthy Sleep Tips

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