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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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Published on September 25, 2020

5 Powerful Self-Care Ideas for When Life Is Stressful

5 Powerful Self-Care Ideas for When Life Is Stressful

Stress doesn’t discriminate. It affects everyone, invariably in different ways. Regardless of how stress shows up in your life, I think we can all agree that it’s present. When it does show up, it takes over the show. It then becomes difficult to stay in the present moment or show gratitude for what and who we have in our life. In the eye of the stress storm, everything is tossed around into oblivion. This is probably when self-care finally comes to our mind.

How Does Stress Show Up?

On a physical scale, stress tends to be behind many of our typical ailments, such as headaches, insomnia, muscle tension, or body aches and pain.[1] When we’re in stressful situations, our body activates our fight-or-flight response. According to the American Institute of Stress, when the body is in this mode due to stress, “the body’s sympathetic nervous system is activated due to the sudden release of hormones. The sympathetic nervous system stimulates the adrenal glands, triggering the release of catecholamines, which include adrenaline and noradrenaline. This results in an increase in heart rate, blood pressure, and breathing rate.”[2]

Why is this important? While our fight-or-flight response is extremely helpful when we’re in situations that risk our survival, not every situation is that dire. However, the body doesn’t know how to differentiate between such scenarios. Rather, we become accustomed to seeing every stressful situation as dire, and essentially locked into this fight-or-flight response automatically. This causes us to burn out because our body is constantly fighting or fleeing from threats that are not causing us any real harm.

On a mental and emotional scale, according to the Mayo Clinic, “Stress symptoms can affect your body, your thoughts and feelings, and your behavior.” Everything is interconnected. When our physical body takes a toll due to stress, this has a domino effect on how we process our thoughts and feelings. Therefore, it is not uncommon to see correlations between depression and anxiety when it comes to dealing with stress.

How to Combat Stress?

Below are five self-care ideas for combating stress in your life. Consider implementing them into your daily routine for the best results.

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1. Start a Brain Dump Writing Exercise

When you’re overwhelmed with thoughts, it can become very difficult to stay present and focused. This could affect you at work, in school, or in your relationships. It’s as if your mind were filled to the brim with thoughts that are constantly competing for your attention. If left unattended, this can affect your performance or your state of being. Stress is just brewing!

One exercise to get this under control is called a Brain Dump, and it’s exactly how it sounds. Start by getting comfortable with a pen and paper or your favorite journal. Without any special formatting or introduction, just start writing any and all thoughts that come up. Consider your paper a blank canvas onto which you’re going to spill every thought, no matter how small or unimportant. This can look like a laundry list, a jumble of words, or a paragraph. Don’t think too much of how it looks. The idea is to give your thoughts an exit. Once they’re on paper, they’re no longer swimming in your head for attention.

Once you have them written down, leave them as they are. We have a tendency to want to fix our thoughts. Instead, allow them to simply exist as they are — they’re not right or wrong. Consider coming back to this exercise daily or whenever you feel like you have a lot on your mind.

2. Sweat It Out

There is nothing more therapeutic than moving the physical body when it feels the weight of stress. Energetically, we carry our day in our body! If we’ve had a particularly difficult day, that energy is going to feel tense and unsettling. This is why it’s so important to move and really break a sweat!

According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America,[3]

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“Scientists have found that regular participation in aerobic exercise has been shown to decrease overall levels of tension, elevate and stabilize mood, improve sleep, and improve self-esteem.”

Find what exercise regimen works for you, and commit to it for a few days per week. Scientists have also found that even 10-15 minutes of aerobic exercise can have a tremendous effect on your body. Go for a run, take a spin class or a power yoga class, or dance the stress away in Zumba. Whatever gets your heart rate up and breaks a sweat is one of the perfect self-care ideas to keep the stress away.

3. Seek the Care of a Therapist

Sometimes writing out our thoughts and feelings doesn’t seem quite enough. This is common and to be expected. After all, we are complex human beings who want to understand and process our emotions on a deeper level. This is why having a regular therapy session is so beneficial!

In the presence of a professional, we can open up about what stressful situations we’re going through. We don’t have to keep our emotions bottled up, and we know that our honesty will be protected and safeguarded.

Additionally, when we’re feeling stressed, we often want to simply vent and get things off of our chest. Having someone on the receiving end who will simply listen and hold space is a truly healing gift. We can often leave the session feeling more empowered, seen, and offloaded of the stress we brought in.

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Lastly, we may be able to receive guidance from our therapist on a particular situation we’re struggling with. Having someone else’s perspective on something we’re too emotionally close to can be just the right solution.

Here are more self-care ideas from a therapist: Self Care Tips During Difficult Times (A Therapist’s Advice).

4. Interrupt Your Day

This may seem like a derailing technique, but give it a shot! Interrupting your day means introducing something entirely new or random into a routine that is very monotonous or typical.

If your work or school day is the same sequence of events every single day, bringing in an interruption can be quite conducive to your productivity and creativity. This can look like pausing in the middle of the day for a yoga stretch at your desk or in your office. It could be playing your favorite playlist in-between meetings or taking a walk outside for lunch. Not only does this stir up new energy for your day, but it can also de-stress your day.

As I said in the earlier tip, when we’re too close to a situation or conflict, we have a harder time breaking away. We’re so emotionally and mentally invested that we don’t see how that proximity is affecting our health. So, interrupt yourself when you’re feeling stress coming on, and do something fun, random, and refreshing.

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5. Get Some Energy Work Done

Energy work is anything that is being done to improve the circulation and energetic flow of the body. This could be a massage, Reiki session, chiropractic adjustment, or acupuncture. As I said in a previous tip, moving the body helps move the energy that is blocked or stuck. This is why exercise is so important. However, sometimes we need a session where that work is done for us by a licensed professional. In such treatments, we have the luxury to relax and receive the benefits of the treatment. It’s a beautiful way to self-care!

Final Thoughts

Stress is unfortunately a common part of our life. It affects everyone, but to what extent it affects you is personal. One thing is for sure, and that is that stress has a tremendous effect on our physical, mental, and emotional state. This is why regular exercise is so important, as well as mental stimulation and emotional release. These self-care ideas won’t necessarily guard you from ever feeling stressed, but they will help you manage it better.

More Self-Care Ideas

Featured photo credit: Alisa Anton via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Mayo Clinic: Stress Management
[2] The American Institute of Stress: How the Fight or Flight Response Works
[3] Anxiety and Depression Association of America: Physical Activity Reduces Stress

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