Succeeding by Failing: How to be Successful
Updated: Jun 7
I'm sure everyone has heard the old saying "to succeed, you have to fail." But what does that mean, exactly? And how can we apply it in our own lives? Here are some ways to better understand the process of failing and succeeding—and ultimately find success in your life.
What is Success?
There's a famous quote that says, "Success is not a destination, it's a journey." This statement couldn't be more true. When you think of success, what do you see? A house in the suburbs with a white picket fence and 2.5 kids? A fancy car, overseas holidays, a fast car and an even fancier wardrobe? The truth is that these things are somewhat artificial and do not equate to personal success, nor happiness.
The key to being successful is to be able to fail over while still keeping going towards your desired outcome. Let me say that again: when we fail at something we don't give up or throw our hands up in despair! We simply take what happened as feedback and try again until we succeed!
It's all about perspective—if you think of failure as a negative thing then any setback will cause fear or depression within yourself which prevents you from taking risks necessary for growth.
Avoid seeing failure as something bad or wrong with yourself, or others around you. Then everything will become easier because there are no longer consequences associated with trying new ideas or exploring different paths. A team that doesn't win, does not lose, it just comes second!
We often think failure is a bad thing, but it is actually a necessary step in the learning process. In fact, you're probably not going to succeed without failing first.
If you want to be successful at anything, including being an entrepreneur or starting your own business, then it's important to understand how failure can help you achieve this goal.
Failing up is about learning from your mistakes, not giving up. It’s about taking risks and learning from the outcome. It’s about learning from other people’s mistakes, rather than making them yourself.
Failing up is about being able to learn and adapt because of your failures (not in spite of them). This can be scary at first, but it will make you stronger in the long run as you develop resilience that will serve you well in future endeavors - whatever they may be!
How Many Times You Get Knocked Down?
You can't win if you don't play. It's true, and this applies to life in general. In life, it's no different. In fact, failure is a prerequisite for success—even if you're not aware of it at the time!
You may have heard a lot about how important failure is or read some articles about "new ways" to think about mistakes. The truth is that failing has been around forever. Failure is just part of the process when trying something new or taking on a challenge. Not succeeding doesn't mean anything negative unless we attach negative feelings onto our experiences with failure and hang on to them.
When we start realising failures are opportunities rather than setbacks, then we can begin seeing them as chances to learn something new or improve ourselves as people and professionals...and ultimately make us better equipped for future success!
Look at things like sports or any other competitive field: There are always winners and losers in these arenas...but no one ever says "I'm done playing" because they lost one game out of 100 (or even 1000). So why should work be any different? Failure isn't anything new or scary - instead consider it something excitingly challenging!
Success might not even be about winning! That will depend on your intrinsic values.
Intrinsic values are what you truly care about and value. They're both things you want and don't want. For example, if someone asked me what my biggest intrinsic value is right now, I'd say freedom. I'm not saying that because it's trendy or popular for people to be into freedom these days—it's simply something I believe in deeply and can't live without. On the other hand, if someone were to ask me what my least favorite intrinsic value is? It would be having no money at all!
So how do we find out what our intrinsic values are? Well that's easy! Just ask yourself: What am I willing to give up? What do I feel most strongly about when it comes down to it? What brings me joy and satisfaction in life?
To Succeed, Learn to Fail.
To succeed, you must learn to fail. Failure is a necessary part of success. It’s not the end of the world, and it’s not a bad thing. Failure is an opportunity to grow and learn from your mistakes—a learning experience that will make you stronger in the long run.
I once heard about a doctor who rewarded his children not for achievements, but for failures. In fact, she would encourage them to fail! She knew that if they feared failure they would avoid trying new activities. Instead, she created an incentive to go out and fail knowing this would encourage the children to be develop courage and learn knew skills! Genius!
Don't be afraid to fail! When someone else sees your flaws or your weaknesses, they're thinking about their own issues, not yours; so don't let their limitations get in your way.
So what are you going to do with this knowledge? If you’re like me, you’ll use it to put yourself in a position where failure is inevitable. You will fail, but that doesn’t mean it won’t be worth it. In fact, if we all could get better at failing, I think our world would be a much better place. So go out there and fail some more!
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(c) 2022 Dean Harrison