Updated: Sep 22, 2020
If you want to increase your success rate, double your failure rate
Failure is a good thing!!! Bet they didn’t teach you that in school.
In 2017, I set out on a mission to read 40 new books. I did this as an attempt to improve on the 22 books I read in 2016. The category of book didn’t matter as long as I read it and could write a short description of the material in a log I was keeping for work.
I wouldn’t say I have a certain taste or genre of books, my collection is somewhat eclectic and all over the place. For example, this year I read old classic, “A Brave New World.” Then, I read books on space like “The Theory of Everything.” I even read books on concentration camps like “If this is a Man,” “Truce” and “A Man’s Search for Meaning.” In the end, I read books on meditation, business, marketing, happiness, success, mindfulness, influencing, and the list goes on!
To be honest, I love each and every book I chose for its own reason. Some books were better than others obviously, but I was able to get at least one nugget of help from each book. Some books also came into my life at the exact right time. As I have mentioned before, one of my favorite books is “Radical Acceptance” by Tara Broch. That came into my life by way of a podcast at the exact right time.
2016 was a tough year for my wife and I and yet strangely, it was the best year of our lives at the same time. In it, we unfortunately suffered four family deaths within 12 months of each other and my dad was given a 2% chance to live (don’t worry, he pulled through and is doing great today) due to liver failure. In a weird coincidence, we had deaths a week before and a week after our wedding. Needless to say it was a difficult time in our lives. However, as I said my wife and I got married which--meant I got to marry my best friend and partner in life--and we also bought our first home! It was almost as though life was balancing out all the tragedies with blessings.
When I red Tara’s book it helped me learn how to deal with what is. There were so many good ideas in her book and it was as if she was speaking directly to me while I was reading. I’m not sure if I would have been able to process all that had happened in my life in 2016 if it were not for Tara’s book. I loved the book so much I even got a phrase from the book tattooed on my arm. It reads, “This too” to remind me every day that no matter what is happening out in the world, as long as in my mind I see it as if I wanted it, I can endure anything and make it through any suffering.
So why am I wasting your time telling you about all these books? Does it feel like I’m trying to brag right now? I promise I’m not…But maybe a little…
The truth is I tell you about the books because I want to show you that failure is okay. Last year my goal was to read 30 books but I only read 22. This year my goal was to read 40 books and guess what, so far I’ve only read 31!
I’m definitely not going to hit my target but the point is I set a goal and I went for it. I failed and yet, I still somehow won. I won by the knowledge I gained from both the books and by the fact that I failed. I learned new ideas from the books but I also learned how to prepare better for next year so to improve my chances of accomplishing my goal.
Contrary to what I was told in school and in sports during my childhood, failure is indeed an option. In fact, sometimes failure is the best option. We as humans tend to learn better from our failures and through our sufferings. At least, that was my experience.
2016 was tough but I came out the other side a better man because it forced me to grow. Trying to read 40 books in a year was a challenge for me and even though I failed, it still helped me become the person I am today.
Furthermore, I found solace in the fact that I was not alone in my sufferings and failures. Everyone fails. No one is perfect and there are countless examples of people who are “successful” but who have failed hundreds of times. It’s somewhat comforting to know that we are not alone in our struggles. It makes it easier for us to give ourselves permission to fail because we can see that it’s an essential part of the journey - a cost of doing business if you will.
After a lot of reading and practicing mindfulness, I now love to take risks because I’m not so scared of failing—take this blog for example. I know there is a lesson in every unsuccessful endeavor. I know that every time I don’t succeed I can ask myself, “What is this failure trying to reveal about myself?” “What is it trying to teach me?”
In America it’s unacceptable to fail but the fact is you can’t win in life unless you fail. You have to take risks. You have to see what you are capable of. If not for the sake of fulfillment, then do it for the sake of being a human who is blessed to have this mind and this body. The fact that you are here on this planet, and that you aware of your existence, means you must go forward despite the possibility of failing. It means you must try and maximize the time you have in this life. Anything less would be menial and not worth the space and energy that was spared to create you.
So what are you waiting for? Why do you need permission to fail?
In every failure there is a valuable lesson to be learned and the seed to make you a better version of yourself. I encourage reconsidering your beliefs about failure and think about what you want in life because there is always something worth failing for.
Thank you as always for reading. Tell us about a time where you failed? What did you learn from missing the mark? Is it possible for you to look back on your failure as a good thing? Let us know!
Until next time, many many blessings!