It’s Time to Embrace Failure

“I haven’t failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”

-Thomas Edison

Do you know how many times did Thomas Edison failed before he successfully invented the light bulb?

One thousand times. He made 1,000 unsuccessful attempts before he finally figured things out.

I’m just glad that he had a good relationship with failure and never gave up.

By strengthening your relationship with failure, you can unlock all sorts of potential in yourself never before accessible. 

Because the thing about failing is that it’s like any other skill. The more that you do it, the better you become. Or in this case, better you become at dealing with it. 

It’s also a matter of perspective. Is failure a bad thing? Is it something to be ashamed of?

It’s understandable to want to avoid failure. Failure can be uncomfortable, embarrassing, and just kind of suck. 

Then of course, when you compare it to its counterpart, success? It’s like adding insult to injury. 

That’s how it feels anyway. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Failure doesn’t have to be this terrible thing we try to avoid. We can choose to see our failures as opportunities for growth. As a signal to take a step back, reevaluate, and learn something new.

Re-frame failure and learn from it so that you can end up better because of it.

“The greatest successes come from having the freedom to fail.”

-Mark Zuckerberg

Prepare for discomfort

I think that this is one of the best things that you can do when trying to level up in this life. Comfort leads to stagnation. Discomfort leads to growth. You can’t expect to grow when your abilities aren’t being tested and honed. 

Which activity is going to make you better: Playing against and dominating a bunch of beginners or competing against a bunch of professionals? Playing against the beginners might make you feel good – it will do wonders for your ego. But the way to actually learn and grow is by suffering against people that you can learn from. 

Even if the pros are running you over, there’s a ton to be learned from it. Be willing to compete with and try to learn from people who are better than you. Sometimes it’s gonna hurt. Sometimes it will be embarrassing. Most of the time, you might feel kind of stupid. But it’s worth it.

Learn to embrace the discomfort. 

How can you tell when you’re at your limit?

That’s all well and good, but surely we don’t want to go too far, right?

I wrote an article called How We Grow: The Goldilocks Zone where I describe that sweet spot for growth which you may find interesting.

But this question specifically regarding limit makes me think about running.

Running is such a funny activity to me. I’m not entirely sure how I would even describe my relationship with it. I love running, but only kind of. I mean, I love what it does for me. It improves my cardio, strengthens my body, and helps burn fat. And even that runner’s high everyone talks about.

But what I think is the more important aspect of running is the mental side of it. 

Running teaches me how to be strong. It teaches me how to deal with discomfort, tolerate pain, and push through my perceived limits.

But the most important thing that running has shown me is that some of these ‘limits’ have about as much limiting power as a speed limit sign. 

It’s just a number. It’s based on something, but it’s not real. Can you go faster than the speed limit? You sure can. Is there an increased risk of injury? Yea, probably. 

If I go out tomorrow and chant, “I have no limits” while trying to run an ultra-marathon, I’ll probably pass out on the trail or die.

Limits are real, but they’re not set in stone. 

Be intentional about which limits you believe

Some limits are real, but not all limits are real. Accept it for what it is. It requires some digging and testing. Sometimes you might get knocked down.

Just acknowledge that the limits that you’ve arbitrarily set or agreed to aren’t necessarily true or accurate. You want to be realistic with your limits, but being realistic and conservative are one in the same when it comes to limits and abilities. 

Sometimes the way to push your limits will be to try things that you’re unsure you can do – to just go for it.

If you fail? Learn from it. If you succeed? You’re more capable than you thought.

That’s a win-win as far as I’m concerned. And it’s not a failure as long as you learn from it.

Besides, what’s the worst thing that happens, you fail? 🙂


That’s it for this one!

Is there anything that you’ve been thinking about failing at? Why haven’t you tried it yet? Are you going to try it now? I’d love to hear from you! Leave a comment below.

Also, if you enjoyed this post, consider following, sharing, or checking out some of my other posts at http://www.mindpowergrow.com

Happy Fathers Day!

Until next time,

Evan

16 comments

  1. I think this blog post may have been a hinted direct message at me 😛
    Do you know that in the last two days, I have seen that Edison quote six times in six different places…
    AND I have been exposed to the theme of this blog post three times….

    Hmmmm…. time to rethink where I am at, re-examine the possibility that I am in a comfort zone of sorts… and quite possibly? Stop allowing the fear of failure to hold me back 😉

    Great blog post, Evan! Thank you 🙂

    1. Hey npf!

      Hahaha, I was just talking to someone else about the universe and it’s crazy ways. But yea, it sounds like either you need to start failing at some stuff or I need to start picking topics and quotes that are a bit more original!! 😀

      Thanks sharing, as always 🙂

      1. Nope… I think your quote was just fine 😉
        I fail regularly, just so you know 😛
        The thing is that I have a vision in my head of a new business venture of sorts, and I have been holding back for a multitude of reasons…. but possibly the greatest one being a semblance of ‘fear of failure’. That age old ”what will everyone think”… and even worse ”what if they all judge me and then I fail in front of them”…. and in the back of my mind is that voice saying, ”But what if you fly? What if this IS your purpose? You don’t know if you don’t try.”
        So you see, your post was VERY applicable, even if it is a very familiar quote 😉
        Hope you have a super day, Evan 🙂
        Meg

      2. I think you need to go for it, Meg!

        Like you said, you’ll never know if you don’t try! 🙂

        Hope you have a great day too.

  2. Great post Evan, really beautifully explained. I have read your other posts as well and my god so inspiring and motivating. Already followed you for such amazing content in future. Keep up the good work buddy

  3. And yeah embracing failure is so relatable to me..
    I was wanting to start blogging from a long time but the fear of failure had been holding me back. But during this lockdown I decided to start my blog as a full time career because I am so much passionate about travel and personal development and growth. I would be happy if you can give your feedback on my content too.

    1. It’s always nice to hear when someone knows where I’m coming from. It sounds like we’re on similar journeys. I’ll definitely head on over and check your stuff out. 🙂

    1. Thank you, Stephen!

      And thank you for all of the comments, kind words, encouragement, and quotes. I certainly appreciate all of it! 😀

      BTW, could you link your blog? I can’t get to it through the link under your name.

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