#1135 Be Willing to Fail

Edison, Churchill and YOU!

Continuing our little series on the science of courage, how about some more wisdom from Robert Biswas-Diener?

In The Courage Quotient, he tells us: “Herein lies the intervention related to failure: accept it. We modern people have fallen in love with the idea that we are in control of our lives, and this worldview gives rise to an impulse to resist failure, to fight against the very notion of it. But just like the modern trend to defy age, the battle against failure is a lost cause. Failure is inevitable. We all experience it, in forms large and small. It is in your past and it is in your future. People with a high courage quotient understand that failure is a risk much of the time and unavoidable some of the time. Rather than trying to tiptoe around failure, they simply accept it as part of the process of success.

That’s from a chapter called “Be Willing to Fail.”

It’s packed with powerful, practical wisdom.

Like this: “Failure is a fantastic learning opportunity. Think of every time you have made a mistake and said to yourself, ‘Well, I will never do that again!’ A single instance of failure can serve as a powerful lifelong course correction. Failure also helps us regroup mentally and improve our skills and strategy so that later attempts at goals might be more successful. Where your courage quotient is concerned, here is the tricky part: you do not have to accept that failure feels good, just that it is inevitable and often beneficial. Accepting failure is not synonymous with actively pursuing failure or enjoying failure when it crashes down upon you. The trick is to acknowledge both the positive and the negative aspects of failure. You can tell yourself, ‘This does not feel good and I am very disappointed with myself,’ on the one hand, even as on the other you reassure yourself by saying, ‘This is also a growth opportunity for me. I will learn from this temporary experience and move on.’

And this: “Where the courage quotient is concerned it is instructive to realize that not everyone reacts to failure, or even the prospect of failure, in the same way. Some people—as I have mentioned and as we have all seen—allow failure to overshadow their lives, restricting their decisions and leaving them embarrassed, timid, or withdrawn. Other people appear to take failure in stride and are able to move beyond it after experiencing its temporary psychological sting. Thomas Edison famously said, recalling countless problematic attempts to create a working light bulb, ‘I failed my way to success.’ Winston Churchill too might be among the resilient. He once said, ‘Success consists of going from failure to failure without the loss of enthusiasm.’ Apparently the ability to reframe failure as part of a larger process— learning, say—is instrumental in being able to cope with it.

And, well, that’s Today’s +1.

Want to Optimize your Courage Quotient?

Be willing to fail.

And, reframe your past failures as fantastic learning opportunities.

Then get out there and give us all the Wisdom + Self-Mastery + Courage + Love you got.


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