The Power of Learning Through Failing

The word failure and failing make you feel a certain way and it doesn’t matter at times when or where you hear them. The idea of the words has built up a feeling of not doing well or that you do not deserve to do something. “Your are a failure”! If hearing those words, you may want to punch someone or give them a piece of your mind, right? But we need to fail and we need to fail a lot.

Here I will break down some ideas and reflections of the failures that we need to have in order to understand that failing and failing a lot is one of the single most important things that we can do and need to do in order to have the ultimate success that we need and want to have.

Who Fails?

We all fail and our reaction to how we fail is what will set us apart from those that give up and those that keep going until they win. Let’s put this into perspective.

Michael Jordan shot 22.9 shots per game for 13 years in the NBA and made 11.4 of those shots every game. So slightly more than half the time he shot the ball he failed, yet he is considered one of, if not the, best basketball player ever to touch the ball

You don’t set out to fail because you are often thinking you are going to be successful quickly. The way that it works is that throughout your hard work and determination, you will have failures in life and what you had already learned through the hard work but didn’t reach the place you wanted, showed you what you need to do next time in order to have greater success. We all have to work hard and keep working hard everyday to get what we want, but we need to embrace the failures as hard lessons learned and not that we are a failure. We have to keep shooting the ball in the right way and it will go in more times than it doesn’t if we learn how to make the right corrections.

Why do we learn from failing?

To put simply, because it hurts. It hurts to have our hard work, energy and dreams come crashing down. Usually the very first thing that we say once we realize that we have failed is, why did I do that? We immediately start questioning all of the decisions that we had made and why we made them. Once we start questioning (reflecting), we start learning.

In Brazilian Jiu-jitsu (BJJ), it is all about failing to get better. You walk in on your first day and someone smaller and physically weaker than you is killing you. You’re wondering how the hell is this possible and the learning starts to kick into high gear. A lot of people can’t take the hit to their ego to keep going for a long time in something as difficult as BJJ. The failing is at an all time constant rate every day that you go to train, but in time you start to understand not to put your hand there, keep your balance here, I think he/she is going to do this now. Soon from all of the failing, you start to have small successes.

The example from BJJ is the learning is greater and quicker because you are under immense stress and risking ‘life’ and limb for your mistakes, so you learn very quickly what not to do. Often though people are not putting themselves under constant stress and are only failing from time to time. When we are under pressure of getting success, like in BJJ, we risk failure more often. That in turn helps us to learn because we are seeing our mistakes more frequently, or in other words, we are failing more frequently.

Failing must be embraced when earned

If someone is moving forward in life and going after what it is that makes them happy, then when met with failure, you must embrace it, learn from it and continue to move forward. Understanding that failures are going to come from time to time, then it won’t hurt as much because you took a chance. You went that extra step to try to do something amazing and it didn’t work out the way you planned for it to work out. The most important thing when coming across a failed moment in life is find out what you can learn from the experience as that is the embrace.

Earning a failure is that forward movement and failing from trying something that is going to better you. If you are failing at something that isn’t worth doing or that you know you shouldn’t be doing in the first place, then it is not an earned failure. An example of this is when trying to cheat someone or cheat yourself. We often try to cheat ourselves in a way that makes it easier to say that it didn’t work out. One of the most common is, trying to lose weight. I know that it is difficult for many people to lose weight but the not seeing it through and giving up is not an earned failure. Our original plan on how to lose the weight may have failed us, but we re-calibrate and make a new plan and continue to go after our goal.

Final Thoughts

Just because you fail does not make you a failure and understanding that and believing that, at times, takes practice and patience. The belief in what you are doing is helping you to be a better person and to reach to higher heights is what is the most important thing that there is. As long as that is constant, then you will meet failure along that road often and embracing and learning the lesson that it taught you will see you succeed beyond your wildest dreams.

Stay on the road to improvement and bettering yourself.


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