Everyone likes to succeed at what they do. Nobody wants or enjoys failing. Failing creates all manner of stress and discomfort sometimes leading to suicide. On the other hand, success is a boost to one’s ego, sense of worth and self importance. Success is worn like a badge. The person who fails, unfortunately, tends to treat failure as a mark of dishonor, a mark of inadequacy and inferiority. But failure is not that. Failure is none of those negatives, if handled in the correct way. Failure is merely the bread crumbs along the way, the footprints in the sand, of what it takes to succeed. Learn and accept this as your new way of thinking and you will learn how to succeed.

Failure does not discriminate. EVERYONE fails and fails often. So, don’t think of yourself as the exception to the rule such that you must instantly succeed at everything you try your hand at. You will fail. Learn to accept that you will fail. Everyone does fail.  Failing is a natural consequence of trying new things. Learn to handle and cope with it. How?

I’m referring to the attempts we make everyday in our roles as humans and employees when it comes to inventing, discovering, changing, motivating,  or trying to improve upon something. It is a law of probabilities that the more actions you take, the more you are likely to fail at some actions. When you believe this simple rule of causes and consequences and you believe it strongly, you will come to learn that failure is merely a lesson in what not to do. Nobody is born knowing what to do in every situation. We are programmed to experience fear, fright, and pleasure so we can learn from nature what actions to take to keep our species alive. Nature teaches us through failure. I’m not the first person to discover this. Brilliant minds before me discovered this. Once I learned of this need to experience failure to succeed, I totally accepted it. You can too.

Learning through failing is mentioned in the Bhagavad Gita, in essays by prominent philosophers such as Ralph Waldo Emerson, and many other great and wise thinkers. This written wisdom is there to help us to adopt this as a  rule of the universe, a UNIVERSAL LAW: “The lesson comes AFTER the experience”.  Let me add my two cents worth as well…. “and our actions in life is the curriculum.”

When my teams were inventing products and slugging through the innovation phase, despite our best plans, we failed often. In the end we succeeded. We succeeded, as with all successes anywhere, by being persistent in seeking the learnings along the way to better each subsequent step. We succeeded by turning each failure into a learning opportunity. Nobody succeeds unless they first failed often.

When I meet a great person I know I am meeting someone who has been toughened by failure. Someone whose life is far from perfect but who extracted the important learnings from their failures to accomplish whatever it is at which they are great. When I meet a CEO I know he or she has plenty of stories about how he or she failed often…but learned from each failure.

In martial arts there is a saying, practice a technique 100 times and you will recognize the technique; practice a 1,000 times, you will be good at it; practice 100,000 times, you will master it.

Your takeaway is this: to succeed you must learn to handle failure. Believe: “The lesson comes after the experience and that our actions in life is the curriculum.”