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Focus on Failure

Updated: Feb 19, 2021

What is failure? The dictionary definition cites failure as ‘lack of success’. Why is failing perceived as undesirable? Why are we so fearful of failing? What is the big issue in making mistakes? After all, it’s how we learn. It’s how we improve and adapt. As children, we teach ourselves to walk. We fall down over and over again but we get back up again. I believe that failure leads to success. So why does falling down become an issue when we get older? “Do not judge me by my successes, judge me by how many times I fell down and got back up again.” Nelson Mandela Nelson Mandela stressed the necessity to fail and fall before success would arise and that true success is attributed to the qualities of resilience and persistence from coming back from the fall, not purely to achieving success. “Failure is only the opportunity to begin again more intelligently.” Henry Ford Make mistakes; it is acceptable to fail, to fall down but what is important is that you get up again and keep trying. Teach your brain that failing is learning and it is part of the process needed to succeed. In memory of the incredible Tony Buzan, inventor of Mind Maps, who died in April 2019, I make reference to his TEFCAS success formula which is all about programming the brain to become a success mechanism. Teaching the brain to recognise that you learn with every try. “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try and try again.” Tony Buzan. Buzan didn’t coin this phrase but he did use it to explain his TEFCAS model. TEFCAS stands for Trial, Event, Feedback, Check, Adjust and Success. The brain’s aim is to achieve the goal and the persistence of trying and adjusting from the feedback you receive will lead you to success. You are a winner by simply not giving up. “The person who never made a mistake never tried anything new.” Albert Einstein Many people want to make changes to reach success and appear willing to make the changes necessary to achieve them but very few people actually make these changes. In fact, they resist them. ‘Who Moved My Cheese?’ by Dr. Spencer Johnson, highlights this indecision, the resistance to change and shows us how to achieve success and happiness through his simple and effective fable. Johnson describes the importance of embracing change and being able to adapt quickly. Today’s world is rapidly changing and we are required to work outside of our comfort zones more often than not. The cheese keeps moving. We have to move with the cheese. We have to move out of our comfort zones, stretch ourselves, challenge ourselves to make our lives extraordinary. So never stop learning, pick yourself up when you fall, share your knowledge, have fun, be creative, apply deliberative practice that is specifically focused towards achieving the results you desire. “Don’t quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion.” Muhammed Ali

ACTION POINT Think back to the last time you failed at something. What were the key learnings from this event and reflect on how have they benefitted you since? Amy

BOOK RECOMMENDATIONS* Headstrong by Tony Buzan Who Moved My Cheese? by Dr. Spencer Johnson *As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

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