You build on failure. You use it as a stepping stone. Close the door on the past. You don't try to forget the mistakes, but you don't dwell on it. You don't let it have any of your energy, or any of your time, or any of your space. ~ Johnny Cash

Failure is a detour, not a dead end street. ~ Zig Ziglar

I recently interviewed with Amazon. One of the insights I learned about the company is that they expect people to fail 30% of the time! If you aren't failing, you aren't taking risks. They want risk takers.

You can't take risks without failure. In the world according to Amazon, if you are not failing at least 30% of the time, you aren't trying hard enough.

But the question I am struggling to understand is: "How do you define failure?"

An adventure is one filled with unexpected events. When things don't go according to plan, the adventure begins.

This just happened to us, as we were heading to New Orleans for Christmas week. Our flight on Christmas eve was cancelled. Our trip was delayed 24 hours, and we got to spend Christmas day in 4 airports.

Failure opens the doorway to challenge. Meeting challenges is where my courage grows.

Failures are simply precursors to challenge.

As such, I welcome failure as invitation to debug the program.

When I fail, I discover something I didn't know before. It's like driving down a street for the first time. If I missed the dead end sign, I won't know it's a dead end until I get to the end.

No need to judge myself for causing the failure (which I am always the cause of), I just didn't know or realize.

We're all doing the best we can, some of us just need to try a little harder.

Now we do, and it's better to know for next time.

It's easy to shift blame to others for the failure, but more often than note, had we known what we know now, we would have planned accordingly.

Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently. ~ Henry Ford

Hanging on

The longer you let the fail linger, the more power you give it. When you let failure linger on in your mind, it will cloud your vision. You are no longer open to learning the lessons you need to learn.

Measuring the impact

How significant was it really?

Failure is the most likely outcome when you are trying something new.

Example: I recently went to my first music festival. Apparently, the line (when bands play) is subject to change. They don't post start times for a reason. If you want to be sure you don't miss your favorite band, you need to arrive when it starts and be prepared to stay till the end. I got really upset because I assumed they'd play before the headliner, allowing us to arrive later. As a result we missed the band we came to see (they opened)

Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm. ~ Winston Churchill

Flipping failure

When you fail, you see the downside. Flip it over, and look for the upside.

Fail = Work to be done.

The reward is in the work itself.

When we fail, it's an indication we have more work do to.

Our ability to take failure in stride builds our self-resilience muscle.

30 Day Challenge

Make a note of every failure and setback. Force yourself to flip it by asking the question:

Related and further reading