Anyone who watched the television last night will understand how each of us is programmed to ignore the evidence of failure and proceed in a positive way. That’s why we often harm ourselves through smoking, alcohol and unprotected sex even though we are fully aware of the consequences. So in our lives we always assume it will never happen to us and yet when it does in business we rarely see failure as a positive. In life we are programmed to see a positive outcome otherwise we would not take risks and we would not develop and learn as a race. What we have to do is take the positives out of failure and use them in business as well.
When we plan to succeed there are automatic built in components of overcome failure because nothing worthwhile in life comes easy we are all more robust if we have and maintain a vision of eventual success. Failure is not our enemy; but it is our friend. As a race we don’t always like adversity because it hurts. However, think of what adversity has delivered to our society in terms of a hunger and drive for success. It is not adversity that kills businesses. What kills businesses is a lack of understanding and education as to how things such as adversity and failure are actually assets, and not liabilities. Every organisation if it is to exploit its opportunities should look for the positive in each situation. I like the old Chinese saying “I complained because I had no shoes until I saw a man who had no legs” makes real sense. Often it is only our lack of perspective that allows the fear of failure to control our thinking. If we maintain perspective in terms of our real situation we can learn as much from failure as we can success.
Failure is not something to be avoided but something to be encouraged, all creative ventures yield to the maximum when failure is embraced rather than shunned. Failure is often seen perceived as a weakness and yet we all have weaknesses as we are all flawed as humans that is in our nature! It is the strong man that knows his weaknesses. It is only when the limits of anything are known through it breaking or failing that we are we able to understand its flaws and develop something new, it is only then that we have a real need to change. That is as Donald Rumsfeld would say when an “unknown unknown” is possible because an “unknown known” has become a “known known”. Failure brings us knowledge and development and should always be viewed positively as long as it is not repeated too often because that only exposes an inability to learn the lessons of failure. If you keep on doing the same things you will always get the same results. As Albert Einstein said “the definition of insanity is doing the same things over and expecting a different result”.