If At First You Don’t Succeed….

Let me lay it out straight for you – you’re going to fail.

Sounds harsh, doesn’t it? But it’s true. At some point, in some way, you’re going to fail. And I’m going to fail. Any human being is, at some point, going to fail. And most of us are going to fail quite regularly.

There’s nothing wrong with that.

In fact, failure is, in many ways, your very best friend. It is through failure that we learn exactly what doesn’t work, leaving an ever-smaller subset of options to choose from until we find one that does work. In other words, failure is one way you get yourself closer to success. This is the very foundation of the scientific method, which tests for those things that aren’t true in order to give a closer view of what is genuinely true. As this is what has brought us powered flight, instantaneous communications, GPS satellites and modern medicine, it would be difficult to overstate just how valuable science has been – which makes it all the more remarkable to realize that science is essentially a system of controlled, sequential failure. The key, of course, is not to simply fail, but to fail intelligently. Learn something from your mistakes – there is always a lesson to be found.

The same applies in business, politics, or any other field of human endeavor. Abraham Lincoln was elected President of the United States – to this day regarded as one of, if not the finest President in American history – only after losing a number of political campaigns and applying the lessons learned therein to each successive race. The smash hit video game Angry Birds appeared to be an overnight success for Rovio – but it took eight years and 51 other games before Angry Birds was realized.

The easiest thing in the world is to do nothing, and it only gets easier after you’ve tried doing something and failed. But it is through failing that we learn what doesn’t work in order to bring ourselves closer to the truth of what does work, and therefore it is through failure that we advance. Never lose sight of the importance of failure, and don’t let yourself get discouraged when it inevitably happens to you. Embrace your mistakes, learn from them, and analyze them for the lesson they can teach you. In the end, every failure you encounter is just one more step on the road to success.

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