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How Reframing Your Failures Will Actually Bring Success

How Reframing Your Failures Will Actually Bring Success

How do you view failure? Do you see it as a life-stopping, dream-ending catastrophe, or do you see it as a valuable experience that moves you one step closer to finding success?

If the first one is your current mindset, then a change in perception could bring major, positive transformations to your life.

Below are a few ways you can reframe your failures to bring success. If you implement these ideas into your life, you’ll not only have an easier time dealing with failure, but you’ll also be able to grow as person every time you do fail.

1) Failure Makes You a Stronger Person

“A smooth sea never made for a skillful sailor”

This couldn’t be more true. You need failure in your life. If you can make it through a failure and continue to press forward, you strengthen your ability to persevere.

If you never experience any setbacks in your life, it means one of two things. You’re either living life in your comfort zone and not achieving much, or you’re setting your sights so low that succeeding is easy.

Neither of those scenarios results in you living a life you’re excited about. Neither of those scenarios results in you achieving your life’s most important goals.

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Set bigger goals knowing that even if you fail, you’ll be a better person because of it.

Every time you fail, you get stronger.

2) Failure is a Stepping Stone to Success

“Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm.” 

Every successful person you can think of has failed at one point in their lives, and most of them have failed more times than you can imagine.

Howard Schultz, the CEO of Starbucks, was denied by 242 banks before one finally gave him the funds he needed. Walt Disney’s theme park concept was denied 302 times before he finally got a yes. Steve Jobs was fired from his own company.

Imagine what the world would be like today if those men had let failure stop them.

It wasn’t the fact that they never failed that made them successes, it was the fact that they kept failing and kept moving forward that made them successes.

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Every time you fail, you move one step closer to success.

Failure is just the price of admission, and everyone has to pay the price.

3) Failure is the Best Teacher

I’ve learned more from my failures than I ever have from my successes. When you fail, you learn what doesn’t work, which is just as important as knowing what does work.

That way, the next time you try, you have the knowledge of what to avoid, and it’s that knowledge that will move you closer to success.

You can almost never predict how things are actually going to turn out. The only way to know what’s going to work and what’s not going to work is by taking action. Sometimes you make the right move, sometimes you make the wrong move.

But there’s still value to be found and lessons to be learned when you make the wrong move and fail. Don’t miss out on those valuable learning opportunities just because you’re afraid of a little failure.

4) Failing Doesn’t Mean You’re a Failure

Failure is a result, not a way to describe yourself. Just because you’ve “failed” at something doesn’t mean you’re a failure as a person.

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You have to separate your self esteem from your failures.

If anything, failing means you’re a step above the average person who only dreams, but never takes action because he’s too afraid to fail.

Wear your failure as a badge of honor because it shows that you were bold and brave enough to take action.

5) What Other People Think of Your Failure is Irrelevant

Everyone has an opinion, and most of them don’t matter. And the moment you start worrying about what other people think about your failure, you’ll be too caught up in defending yourself to find all of the value there is in failure.

Unless someone is giving you constructive criticism that’s going to help you grow, ignore it. Some people give “advice” with the result of causing you harm, whether it’s intentionally or unintentionally.

Pick and choose who you listen to very carefully.

6) Failure Shouldn’t be Scary

We usually overestimate the devastation that failure will cause. We think that if we fail, our life will be torn apart and we’ll never be able to recover. But most of the time, that’s just not true.

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Most failures are not fatal. Instead, they’re minor setbacks.

7) Some Failures are Beyond Your Control

There are so many factors influencing the direction of your life. Some, you have control over, others you don’t. Stressing over the latter is a recipe for disaster.

Let go of the things you can’t control, and let them work themselves out.

Instead, focus on what you control and understand that even if you do fail, you gave it all you could and that’s all that matters.

Featured photo credit: Refraction through glasses via en.wikipedia.org

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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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