I was planning on writing a post about embracing failure all week and just before I sat down to write it I came across this image and quote from Michael Jordan. What a great coincidence. I was a huge Michael Jordan fan when I was younger and think this particular quote is just brilliant.
When we fail, we learn. And what is better than learning? Unfortunately our culture and society tends to only celebrate success and rejects all failures (even if the success came from many previous failings). It is ingrained into our psyche to fear failure – our exam scores and the dreaded F, losing sport matches, not getting a job promotion, your business not making any money etc. This fear can be paralysing.
Failure should be embraced, and at times sought out. Otherwise we are just promoting the same patterns, safe behaviour, following the same paths to the same answers and inhibiting exploration and curiosity.
When I design I am constantly failing. As a competitive person this has taken me a long time to make peace with. Every day I design I will: fail – learn – try again – fail – learn – try again – repeat until I achieve a result. Every creative idea, or brand design takes constant failure until I get it right. I probably fail around 10 times a day on average, meaning I design and create far more failures than successful designs.
Aside from work, I played in a losing grand final with my football team in 2012. While it was extremely disappointing, I certainly learnt more about myself and the team from the loss and failure than the two grand finals I have won previously.
So here’s to failure, it is what makes jobs and life interesting. Fail often, quickly and cheaply in order to succeed and most importantly learn.