I recently watched the video at the end of this article from Will Smith, one of the most famous actors of our day, on failure. In light of my many failures over the years including my early failures in getting this site that now has over 20,000 followers off the ground, his words are incredibly inspiring.
Smith had this to say, “It's always frustrating to me when people have a negative relationship with failure. Failure is a massive part of being able to be successful. Successful people fail a lot. They fail a lot more than they succeed.”
It's always frustrating to me when people have a negative relationship with failure. Failure is a massive part of being able to be successful. Successful people fail a lot. They fail a lot more than they succeed.
Keep reading for my own thoughts and to watch Smith's full message, “Three ways to fail.”
|Photo of Will Smith at the 2011 Walmart Shareholders Meeting CC 2.0|
I personally couldn't agree with Smith more on this subject. You can't be afraid to fail. In fact, if you are never failing, that means you are not pushing yourself hard enough. Successful people succeed because they have learned to fail successfully and learn from those failures.
How Do You Fail Successfully?
In order to fail successfully, you should push the limits, but don't go so far that you can't recover from your failure. Think about a child learning to run. The successful child takes a few steps, then falls. They repeat that until they are taking many steps in a row and walking around quickly. Eventually, they manage to go a little faster, until one day they are running and playing with their friends. Speaking of playing, don't forget to add a little fun into the mix too. As Ryan Biddulph explained in his article “Dance“, you need to dedicate most of your energy to doing those things you enjoy, but then you need to push past your fear when opportunities arise. Doing things you enjoy makes things sustainable for the long haul.
You WILL Fail, But That's How We Learn!
Going back to learning how to run, what would happen if that child got frustrated on their first attempt because they weren't any good at walking and gave up, or tried to climb down a steep cliff before they learned to walk? That seems a little silly, but many people feel like just because they aren't good at something right now, they never will be, or they go to the opposite extreme and risk fatal injury by trying to do something they aren't ready for like climbing down a steep cliff before they learn some of the basics of rock climbing.
|What if She Stopped Before She Learned To Run?|
It's silly when we look at this behavior in the context of a child learning to walk, but as we get older it seems like somehow things should be easier when learning something new. It's not, we are simply less likely to keep trying over and over to get it right as we get older. That's how people ultimately end up failing, they stop after they fail the first few times.
Plan To Fail Until You Succeed
Maybe you want to start your own business, but are afraid that you're going to fail. Guess what? My bet is that you will fail! At least you will fail when you first get started. I wouldn't recommend putting your entire life's savings on the line with a new business. Statistically speaking you are going to fail. Plan for it, start small. Learn from others like those in our personal development community. Build upon your successes and failures. Big things come from small beginnings.
A Billionaire's Story
I shared a story about a billionaire that I follow on Quora a while back in my post “Why you won't become a millionaire by budgeting alone.” Here's his story.
Plan to fail. Learn from it. Try again. Repeat until you succeed. Stop being scared of failure, and you will succeed.
Will Smith: Three Ways To Fail
Over to you Will, take it away.