Tag Archives: Learning from Failure

Failure redefiined

Listening to Bill Tracy today something that caught me flat and I paraphrase:

We are all failures because we have all failed at something before. The thing to realise is that there is really nothing bad about failure because it simply a source of feedback and feedback is a great source of growth…Secrets of Self-Made Millionaires

The thought process here is so simple yet profound. Here it goes…when things don’t work out, accept it hasn’t worked, assess the situation, find the lesson and move on. Do not stay there and wallow. The more we learn to treat challenges this way we will realise that there really is nothing like failure. We will rename it as challenges and challenges are a part of life. They are not a bad thing perse and can be the greatest teacher we ever have. In simple terms…refuse to accept failure as a possibility. To some, this sounds like denial yet I differ on that. I have chosen to change how I see and respond to the happenings of life. I do not deny that there will be times when things do not work our as planned or that the ideas fall apart and do not work. However, I will not stay down for all my days rather I will make the effort to rise and be counted as the few who sit there think things through, stand up dust themselves off and move on with key learning in their hearts and pockets. That is the stuff that differentiates people and I aspire to be different.

When things fell apart in the not so distant past, it was so easy for me to blame the person who did not do their part fully or the one who dropped the ball or the weather or the venue or a whole plethora of things. However, when push came to shove, I have realised that there was something that went significantly off track and it started from me. So I am learning to assess the situation and ask loads and loads of questions before I get confused. I ask questions like, Did I explain it right? Did I find out if the team had understood? Did we give it our joint all? Are there undercurrents I had not read? Where did we go off track? Do I have the right team? Am I the right person? Am I easy to work with? Do I complicate matters more than needed????? And the list is endless.

One of my realities has become that after so many years of doing things well I got comfortable with success and assumed that we knew all the nooks and crannies and we could not go wrong. Talk about over confidence and a warped focus. I simply assumed that based on the past track record we could do this our eyes closed and ace it all the same. This has not been so in a few instances this year and hence I have had time to sit and understand the situation and find a way out.

The challenges (that I would have called failures in the not too distant past) have taught me more than I could ever imagine once I became objective. I realised that:

  • There will never be an end to learning and improvement
  • I do not have the monopoly of ideas and plans and never will
  • I will find situations where I am not the best in the field
  • I will find challenges and want to hide my head in the sand
  • Honest assessment and reflection must become my best friends
  • I must learn from every situation
  • Failure is not the end but a fresh opportunity to learn something new
  • If I get complacent something will happen to remind me that I am as human as the next person


In the end I have come to appreciate the getting something wrong every once in a while is better than always expecting to be right. If I am right all the time then I am not growing and have become arrogant and the road to extinction has begun for me. The more important reality is that only God is always right so unless I say I am God there is no way I will always be right.  So my new focus is “In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” 1 Thessalonians 5:1. When I am able to understand that I can always learn something and I can get better daily from the things that happen around me then I am a better person. Hence I will give thanks in every situation and find a lesson, find joy and hope in all I do.

I am now thankful that I face challenges or failures everyday as they are an opportunity for me to stop, assess my life, re-focus on God and then move on to the purpose He has and continues to establish me and I will continue to trust His will, plan and purpose for me.