- My mother used to tell me, ‘failure is not the opposite of success, it’s a stepping stone to success.’ So at some point, I learned not to dread failure. I strongly believe that we are not put on this Earth just to accumulate victories and trophies and avoid failures; but rather to be whittled and sandpapered down until what’s left is who we truly are.
- ‘Whenever I meet a successful CEO, I ask them how they did it. The great CEOs tend to be remarkably consistent in their answers. They all say, ‘I didn’t quit.’
- I learned to be as open about my failure with my friends and family as I was willing to be about my successes. Startups are not just what you read in the press. The real story is much more volatile and human, and we do our community a disservice pretending otherwise.
- Winners are those who are willing to lose. I really like that mentality.
- My approach is always to admit as early as possible that the approach is failing and work to resolve the situation, without letting it drag on.
- The best companies are those that can recognize when something isn’t going right, and fix it, instead of just turning a blind eye because it’s easier.
- One day I realized that after each failure, I always gained some valuable knowledge of things I could apply to or avoid in my next project. That was the attitude I adopted after every failure from then on, I focused on what I gained instead of what I lost, because that’s what really matters in the end.
- I had to learn that my greatest failure could be not aiming high enough, or not trying in the first place.
Some of the lessons I’ve learned from failure:
1. My failures are usually the result of over-confidence. When I’ve failed it’s often because I was putting too much trust in myself and not enough in God. A happy side-effect is that it has usually produced more prayerful dependence upon God.
2. Failure has made me more sympathetic to others. If I’d never failed in my parenting, preaching, teaching, financial decisions, etc., I would have no patience, sympathy, or help for others who had.
3. My failures have helped to re-direct my life. I’ve realized that I’m just not gifted for certain things I would love to do and I should focus on the areas God has equipped me for. Though painful at the time, I can look back with gratitude for failures that have changed my course.
4. Failure has given me a deep appreciation for people who succeed in areas I’ve failed in (usually jobs involving practical skills like plumbing, carpentry, mechanics, etc).
5. Failure has taught me to credit successes to God. When things go well, I recognize that it’s God alone who enabled, helped, and blessed, promoting more thankfulness and humility.
6. Many of my failures have been the result of being too tired or too busy. If I pace my life better and get good rest I seem to make better short- and long-term decisions.
7. My failures make me worship the Lord Jesus Christ more. When I consider how many mini-failures I have in a week and how many major failures in a decade, I’m awestruck to think that He spent 33 years on earth and never failed once!
What have you learned from your failures?