Readers of my blog as well as people who have been part of my new leadership training Escape the Matrix and Lead know that I have some very strong feelings about failure.
Ultimately, I think that failure is nothing more than an illusion forever propagated by the education system.
In school we learn that when we attempt something, say take a test, we either get some degree of success (anywhere from an A+ to D- grade) or an all-encompassing failure (an F). Let’s call this model of failure and success the Pass-Fail Binary, or the PFB for short.
The PFB teaches us that success and failure is evaluated by a one-time experience such as a test, paper, or presentation graded by a teacher. Motivated by the fear of failure and forced into action, we learn to study hard.
The problem with PFB is that it almost always bleeds from the classroom and into our personal and professional lives. It creates the false mentality that makes “doing nothing” more appealing than taking action; with over a decade of education to condition us, we learned that when we take action, we risk failure.
Thus, if we have the option to not take action -– especially for the really important things in our lives -– many of us will remain inactive instead of risking failure.
To succeed in the real world we have to eliminate the PFB mentality that school conditioned us with and replace it with an understanding that as long as we are acting, we are progressing and as long as we are progressing, we will eventually succeed.
Let’s end the PFB that too often colors the rest of our lives and replace it with an attitude of action equals success. Of course sometime when we act we wont get the exact results we were hoping for -– but we will have learned something. We will have learned what does not work and that will bring us one step closer to success.
I want you to succeed on your own terms. Let's begin by agreeing that the only true failure is the failure to take action on a project that you care about and from there we will consider all action success – even if we don’t immediately get the results we want.
Depending on your vision you will work to make yourself a better leader, you will work to create a better community locally or globally, you will take risks to make yourself a more loving, more engaged, more interesting individual. When you try something and get different results than you hoped for, instead of chalking it up as a “failure” as PFB from school suggests you do, you will realize that you can try again and again and again until you get the results you are looking for.
When you commit to action, you are committing to succeed by your own terms and you are unlocking a whole world of potential accomplishments. All that is left for you to do is to dream big, and act.
Jason Connell is an international speaker and the Executive Director of Ignited Leadership where he helps create world changing leaders. Jason tweets at @Ignitedleaders, can be found on facebook at facebook.com/ignitedleadership.com. Jason can be contacted directly at: Jason@ignitedleadership.com. Learn more and read Jason’s blog at: www.Ignitedleadership.com.© 2012 Jason Connell
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