Success comes from experience, and experience comes from failures. Hence it is a mathematically logical and correct conjecture to say that success comes from failures. I don’t know how that connects with you, but business titans world over seem to allude to that reasoning. In fact, IBM Thomas Watson (Jnr) once said that the secret of his success was to simply double his failure rate, and that the more he failed, the more he succeeded. You can even try this on for size;
“I have missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I have lost almost 300 games. On 26 occasions I have been entrusted to take the game winning shot, and I missed. And I have failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is precisely why I succeed.” – Michael Jordan
Failure is a great teacher, but it is wiser to learn from other peoples experiences and failures than ones. Many mistakes have already been made and lessons learnt, no one will ever live long enough to make all the mistake by themselves.
“It is the ability to use another persons experience that makes the elders wise.” -Nigerian Proverb
People fail for similar reasons! Have you ever pondered about this? There is a quote I learnt in Organizational Design and Excellence. It states that organizations are perfectly designed for the results that they achieve. That means people continue to fail because there is a failure element in their design. How?
People fail in many areas of life, in business, career, academics, relationships and so on. By avoiding these pitfalls and learning from the failures of others, our chances of becoming successful significantly increases. These are pitfalls to be careful of:
1. People fail because the are uninformed! Information has gradually become the most precious resource in the world. Gone were the days when the maxim, “What you don’t know can’t harm you” reigned. Today what you don’t know can kill you. You need to stay abreast of cutting edge information in your feild. What you don’t know can destroy your business, get your fired, break your relationships and mess up your results. Read, browse, attend seminars, subscribe for magazines, buy audio tapes, join associations! Cure yourself of ignorance, damage your ignorance permanently!
2. People fail because they don’t plan! Failing to plan is planning to fail, there are no two ways about it. If you know of any king that goes to battle without a plan, then you probably also knew when he was buried. Have a plan! I spent a good part of today, drawing up strategies for significant projects I wanted to run this year. If you see my planning tools, you’ll probably exlaim, but every inch of execution is worth an equal inch of planning. Do you have a 2007 calendar? Have you penciled down the key dates for key activities? If you don’t, you can have this now.Calendar2007
3. People fail because they are selfish! If your plan this year is all about you, you are likely to be creating lessons for all of us :). The world is designed for your best work to happen in the service of others, your success lies in meeting anothers need. Don’t be the centre of the universe, the world doesn’t revolve around your house, be considerate, be concious of helping others to achieve success. Don’t focus on your own promotion, focus on your bosses promotion – yours will come. Don’t focus on getting more customers, focus on solving problems for a larger population, and watch your customers increase. Who are you helping to succeed this year? Take the focus off yourself.
4. People fail because they are afraid! This is a more subtle one, as it doesn’t appear to anyone that you have failed. But people fail before they even start because fear keeps them from setting the goals that are comesurate with their potentials. People are afraid of failing, of loosing their jobs, of loosing their relationships, of loosing their opportunities, because of these fears people settle for less. Fear binds, fear puts shackes on your feet, handcuffs on your hand, and covers your lips. The key to fear is looking the worst in the eye, and discovering that even the worst is not so bad after all.
People fail for many reasons, these are only a few key points, many other reasons can be derived from these. If you make sure that you are not afraid and not entirely selfish, if you ensure that you have a plan and stay informed, then your chances have just doubled that you will succeed.
And remember to RECHARGE