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Published on November 4, 2019

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 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 asking yourself, 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 to you.

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.

If you think hard about it, failures promote mental and emotional growth as well as physical. 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 with my own foot if I screwed something up or acted on impulse. We want our success to happen now–fall on our laps from the sky 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 I’ve witnessed many people do. 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. So let your work and life fall apart, so you can reshape and repurpose everything. While in ruins, that’s when incredible things begin to reform. And if you view failure as falling into ruins, I hope this article restructures your mindset about it.

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’ve felt 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 it. Thinking and approaching it that way will lead you somewhere different, a different direction and outcome.

2. You Become Skilled in Identifying What Works and What Doesn’t.

Just about every field or industry, you go into or are in, failing should help you identify what worked and what didn’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 of failure is: 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 later down the road.

6. You Will Build Emotional Resilience.

Emotional resilience 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 determine 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 dependent upon the circumstance. But 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 a lot and fast because then, my story will 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 have been 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: 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 your forward.

9. Failure Resets Your Focus.

After I’ve experienced major letdowns, I noticed a shift in my focus. Not to say my focus wasn’t there before, but my second time around, my attention to detail is 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 a new way of approaching a situation in your work life 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 were: 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.

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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 Mastering Whatever You’re Doing.

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 and doing 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’d 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 Botton Line

Instead of striving to be the next big thing or success, fail forward fast. 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.

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Featured photo credit: Alejandro Escamilla via unsplash.com

More by this author

Tessa Koller

Author, Motivational Public Speaker and Artist

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Last Updated on November 5, 2019

7 Steps to Start Living Your Dream Life Right Now

7 Steps to Start Living Your Dream Life Right Now

Have you ever heard the question, “what would you do if money was not a factor?” It is one of those questions that people often brush aside, because quite frankly, money is a factor. The doubters will mock you as naive or foolish, but deep down you know it is possible to start living your dream life. You know there is more to life than working and paying bills.

It seems as though most people are just trying to get by. They work because they need to make an income to support their life.

People not only settle in the workplace, but also in their relationships with their friends and family. You may even know people who settle by compromising their integrity and core values.

That is why it is not naive or foolish to start living your dream life, it is essential.

Living your dream life is more than being rich, it is the belief that you are living a life aligned with your purpose. If you are ready to free yourself of the fears that cause you to live your life according to the expectations of others, then follow the below 7 steps found in the book – Champion of Change, the 7 Instrumental Laws of Change:

1. Construct a Plan of Action

The foundation for you to create your dream life is for you to take the time and visualize what that life will look like.

This is more than the normal vision board you may have heard before. This form of visualization requires you to use all your senses. Olympians are well-known for their visualization practices as they prepare for competition. The reason they do this is because everyone is very talented by the mere accomplishment of qualifying for the Olympics.

To gain an edge, Olympians will visualize themselves competing in their actual event. Emily Cook, of the United States free style ski team is quoted as saying she engaged all her senses in her visualization. She moves her body as if she is skiing down the slopes, she feels the air as it blows through her hair, and she hears the roar of the crowd as she crosses the finish line.[1]

Olympians visualize in such detail because they understand they only have one opportunity every four years to compete. The best way they can be ready for the moment is by continually competing in their mind. Studies support this belief as they show you can literally gain muscle by visualizing yourself working out [2]

2. Focus Your Attention

If you want to start living your dream life right now, you are going to need to adjust the way you see the world. Your beliefs create your consciousness, and your consciousness creates your reality, and your reality is maintained by the way your mind filters information.

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Everyday, you receive millions of sensory inputs and your mind filters out most of them to keep you from going crazy. The ones you receive are the ones that your mind believes matter to you based on past experiences.

One of the most popular examples is when you purchase a new car. As soon as you purchase that car, suddenly you notice that car everywhere. Now you probably know that everyone did not purchase the car the same day as you, but what happened?

Well, when you purchased your new car, you told your mind ,”this car matters to me”. As a result, your mind is now showing you the car that has always been there.

Your mind blocks out most of the stuff that is going on while you are driving to help you stay sane. Imagine if you were consciously aware of every line, tree, car, deer, squirrel, reflector and sign while driving.

The same way your mind can adjust your filters based on the action of purchasing a new car, you can take actions to create your dream life. As you take action, your mind will show you new opportunities that were always there (just outside of your previous filters).

    Learn more about how to focus here: How to Improve Focus: 7 Ways to Train Your Brain

    3. Put the Systems and Processes in Place

    Once you have the proper mindset to start living your dream life, you are ready to shift your focus to maintaining your early wins.

    The mistake most people make is they are excited in the early going, but they are working solely off discipline and willpower. Your willpower and discipline are exhaustible resources that will fade over time. That is why most people quit their New Year’s Resolution 30-days after starting. That is also why people who are on a diet will make nutritious decisions throughout the day, and fail miserably late at night.

    Each time you withstood the tempting call of sweets, the likelihood of you withstanding another call decreased.

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    This is why it is so important that you put systems and processes in place that limit the need for you to use discipline and willpower. In the case of our dieter, it would be better for them to trash all the candy they no longer want to eat.

    The reason is simple:

    Whatever food that is in your house, you are going to eat at some time or another. The only way to truly ensure you will not eat the candy is to throw it away.

    This is also true when it comes to you and your dream life. If you want to ensure that you follow through on your vision, you have to be willing to limit the ability for you to revert back to your previous life.

    If you want to stop relying on your willpower and start making things happen, these tips will help: How to Break a Habit and Hack the Habit Loop

    4. Accountability Is a Must

    When you are accountable to someone or a group, you will find yourself more motivated to continue. Deep down, we all want to be accepted by others. Even though this can work against you sometimes, this particular occasion is not one of them.

    When you proclaim your goal to other people, it improves the likelihood of you following through.

    You may be surprised to know, but you experience accountability on a regular basis.

    • If the CEO asks you to provide a report, you are going to make the best report of your life. You understand the opportunity and value of making a good impression with the CEO.
    • Now imagine if your coworker asked for the report. Will there be a difference in quality?
    • How about if you were going to a class reunion? Would that improve your commitment to get in shape?
    • Even when you know you are going to have company over at your house, you are going to clean better than if you knew no one was coming.

    Accountability works because you want to keep your word and make a good impression of yourself in front of others.

    5. Catalyst for Change

    There are things you can control and things that you cannot control in life. Do not allow the fear of failure or fear of uncertainty keep you from living your dream life. Everything is not going to go smoothly on your journey. You are going to face challenges and setbacks.

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    The good news is failure is a part of success. They are two halves of the same coin. What tends to happen is people spend so much time trying to avoid failure, that they never realize they are undermining their ability to find success.

    By understanding that failure is a part of success, you understand your goal is not to avoid failure, but to build on it: 10 Famous Failures to Success Stories That Will Inspire You to Carry On

    Your dream life does not necessarily need a positive event to start. Oftentimes, it is the negative events (or perceived negative) and a sense of desperation that drives people to reach further than they ever have before.

    Your catalyst for change may be exactly what you wanted or it may be the worst thing that could have happened. Either way, your focus is on what to do next. You want to build on that event by stacking positive events on top of it.

    Positive events are anything that move you closer to your goal. In your case, anything that moves you closer to your dream life. Whether you quit your job or your boss fired you, it is all about what you are going to do next.

    Choose to respond to each situation by taking another step towards your dream life.

    6. Character Matters

    In a study between two schools on opposite ends of the economic spectrum, positive psychology experts created a list of character strengths they believed essential to success.

    Their list included grit, self-control, zest, social intelligence, gratitude, optimism, and curiosity.

    Some of the character traits were common with how most people view success; such as grit, curiosity or self-control. However, gratitude, zest, optimism, and social intelligence (compassion) were on the list, but their relation to success is often overlooked.[3]

    It is important to remember that change comes from the inside-out. Your core values are the prism through which you accomplish your goals.

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    7. Muster up the Courage

    Once you have completed the first six steps, you have everything you need to start living your dream life.

    Do not allow yourself to procrastinate on your transformation. The fear of change may disguise itself as a thoughtful plan to wait for more information or better timing.

    Keep in mind that you are not looking for the perfect situation, you are only looking to start. One you get started, you are going to be better equipped to make any changes.

    I often compare starting your journey like walking through a fog. If you stand on the outside of the fog trying to see to the other side, you are going to find it very difficult. But if you are willing take the first few steps, you are going to realize that you can see a few more steps into the fog.

    If you are willing to continue walking, before you know it, you can see clearly because the fog is behind you.

    You have an idea of what your dream life looks like and you have an idea of the effort it is going to take to make it happen. However, you do not really know how realistic your expectations are until you experience it.

    Final Thoughts

    There is a lot of work that goes into living your dream life, but you will find it well worth your time.

    Most people regret the things they did not do more than anything they have ever done. Therefore, do not settle for a life that is less than your dream life. Pursue your dream life with effort and resolve.

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    Featured photo credit: Cristina Gottardi via unsplash.com

    Reference

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