THE BLOG

Failing Forward

09/10/2013 06:26 pm ET | Updated Nov 10, 2013

"There are risks and costs to action. But they are far less than the long range risks of comfortable inaction." -- John F. Kennedy

One core reason we stay in our comfort zones of inaction is the fear of failure. This isn't news. It's also common advice to cope with our failures, even learn from them. This is a step up, however it often makes failure a bad thing we must find a way to live with -- like some unwelcome house guest we can't wait to get rid of.

But failure isn't something to cope with anymore than breathing out is something we must cope with in order to breathe in -- it's part of the same breath! And failure isn't a part of us we must eliminate by becoming so safe, secure, or insured that we never experience it!

Look at how we learn to walk. As babies, we step forward, fall, catch ourselves, try again and catch ourselves sooner and sooner until we're walking. But even when we're walking, we're still falling -- we're just catching ourselves in a controlled, rhythmic pattern.

Walking is controlled falling.

Likewise, people become successful by failing, picking themselves up and failing some more, catching themselves each time... until they're succeeding.

Success is controlled failing.

Just as a baby must embrace falling rather than seeking to avoid it, we must accept -- even celebrate -- failing, rather than developing coping mechanisms to prevent it. And if we want to accelerate our success, we should move toward failure, even lean into it.

When you don't just cope with it but see it as a gift, a blessing -- and fall in love with failure -- your life takes on a sense of adventure and growth that puts you on the emerging edge of evolutionary progress.

Imagine never being afraid of failing again. Imagine every time you fail, getting excited:

"Alright, I failed. Yee-haw! That means I'm about to grow!"

You can do this. It's not as crazy as it sounds. And since it's inevitable, you might as well enjoy the fall!

To put this into action, practice failing fast. Get in the habit of honoring your guidance and taking bold action in the direction of your vision. Execute, implement and quickly discover the way not to do things so you can uncover new and better ways.

Like Edison and his more than 10,000 attempts at the light bulb -- he was finding out all the ways not to create a light bulb. He was also learning about electricity, conductivity and much more -- which could help him advance his knowledge and results in other areas.

Failing fast allows you to succeed fast. And if you do make mistakes, by making them fast, you end up with more time to correct them. As Jefferson said, "If I am to meet with a disappointment, the sooner I know it, the more of life I shall have to wear it off."

In the heat of the moment, it appears as if failure is what we fear most. But if you extend your awareness into the future and imagine the cost of not trying, you'll find that what you fear most is leaving this life having not fully lived it.

Don't die with your music still in you just because you're afraid of singing out of tune.

To your emergence!

Derek

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