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9 Reasons Why You Can Succeed When You Fail

9 Reasons Why You Can Succeed When You Fail

If you asked yourself whether in order to succeed you’d be willing to fail many times, would you take the risk? Nine times out of 10 you’d get a reply with a resounding no! Avoidance of failure is a very human condition and settling for second best seems most preferable to risking it all and looking bad.

Yet as children, the thought of failure doesn’t even come into it. Children naturally will just go for it without a second thought. Why is that do you think?

As you grow, failure is everywhere. You are taught to not fail at school tests, to always be the best and anything else is just not good enough. You’ll get into trouble with your parents for doing things wrong, or laughed at by class mates for being different. You simply cannot win! Yet failure is vital for success. Failure makes what you want to achieve worth doing and doing well. So with that in mind, I’ve come up with a few reasons why this is so, and some tips on how to succeed through failure.

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1. It will provide you with a lesson to learn from

When something’s not gone quite as well as you had hoped, or indeed failed completely, there is always a message within that failure. Recognizing that failure is a lesson in life will keep you in good spirits each time it happens. It provides you with a chance to reflect back on what happened, what you would change for next time and what to not do again. Remembering that failure is an asset to your success is vital; it’s your greatest teacher and will make you far more grateful for your success when it arrives.

2. It’s a test of how committed you are

Failure can be hard to bear, it can make you feel like quitting and put doubts in your mind that weren’t there in the first place. However, if you look at failure as your ally and use it to push yourself even further forward than you were yesterday, it will make you realize how really committed you are to your goals. Failure teaches you to either give up or keep going, and will help you decide if you really want it enough.

3. Failure builds and refines your character

When life throws you a curveball, it tests your resilience and strength of character. Knowing that whatever happens you can pick yourself up and dust yourself down, builds confidence and a good attitude. No matter how hard things get, you know you can get through it. The knowledge that you are stronger than you were before is not only gratifying, but also makes you 10 times more attractive to those around you.

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4. It gets you trying new things

Instead of always doing what you’ve always done, which then makes sure you get what you’ve always got, failure will force you to try new things. The lessons learned from failure will be valuable, they will help you to work out what didn’t work before, what might work next, and in turn will get you to step out of your comfort zone. Staying stuck won’t be an option. If success is important to you, you’ll not want to fail again, so trying something new will be your only option.

5. It gives you room for growth

Failure teaches you that not everything happens when you want it to. However, it also teaches you that sometimes a change in direction or attitude is all that is needed to make something a success. Failure is important to your own growth because it makes you more aware of yourself, your choices and your actions. It also helps to question your belief system and values, making you realize you don’t always have to know the answers. Questioning more provides growth and change.

6. It increases self-awareness

Much the same as with growth, being self-aware helps you to understand your decisions and choices in life and your own reaction to them. When something doesn’t go to plan, you might have reacted in a negative way or perhaps felt angry about it. Failure will help you to look back on how you deal with it, making you realize, perhaps, that your own actions have contributed in some way to the failure. This makes you more accountable and responsible for your own life, and this is only ever a good thing!

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7. Failure helps you to seek out new relationships

When failure happens, whether it be in a personal or professional capacity, you will tend to seek out others for advice and guidance. This is a powerful way to establish new relationships, as they can help to nurture and complement you on your journey towards success. Also, knowing that you have someone or some people to discuss future strategies or failures with will help in the long term.

8. It reconnects you to your priorities

When you fail, it stops you in your tracks and helps you to question the reasoning behind your previous actions. It will help you to work out your priorities and what is most important to you. Your priorities are what makes you do what you do, and most importantly, are the reasons why you do them. Failure helps you to regain focus, take a step back and re-establish your roots.

9. It makes you realize you are not superhuman

Life has a habit of giving you stuff to get you thinking again, to knock you off track a little to make you realize you are not superhuman after all. Sometimes you have to take a few knocks to make you humble, and to recognize your perceived failures are really just chances to look at yourself again. It’s there to test you, to give you that sense that there is still so much more you can give and to help you to believe in yourself again. After all, success only comes to those who fail, and if not, it wasn’t worth it anyway!

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Featured photo credit: Flickr/DennisChow.com via flickr.com

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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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