3 Practical Steps to Embrace Failure

No one likes to fail. Failing is awful.

It zaps your energy.

If you allow it, failing can not only makes you feel lousy about yourself, it can even wreck your self-image.

I know what it feels like.

How do you see failure

However, failure is simply an event, as Zig Ziglar put it:

Remember that failure is an event, not a person.

The meaning we give to it depends on how we view failure. Here’s 3 practical steps to embrace failure.

1. It is not a failure

A quote on failure many have heard of is this by Thomas Edison:

I have not failed 1,000 times. I have successfully discovered 1,000 ways to NOT make a light bulb.

Experimenting with different ways to achieve a goal will inevitably lead to the discovery that something doesn’t work. But are you focusing on the failures? Or are you discovering the ways to doesn’t work?

2. Don’t give up

Knowing that each step that failed is leading you closer to the goal should give you the energy, both physical and mental, to keep on working towards your goals.

As Winston Churchill put it:

Success is the ability to go from failure to failure without losing your enthusiasm.

3. Learn from it

Failing is not a waste of time. It is only a waste if you do not learn from the valuable lessons that come with it. Learn from each failure.

Here’s Henry Ford:

Failure is only the opportunity to begin again, only this time more wisely.

Failure in Design Thinking

When solving any problems or satisfying any desires, it is inevitable that there will be some solutions that work and some that don’t.

That’s the iterative part in the Design Thinking process. You put together a solution and try it out. And when that doesn’t work, you distil the lessons from each failure.

You learn from it, then make changes to the solution until you find an optimal one.

Watch this video to see how Tim Brown re-frame the idea of failure in the context of Design Thinking: