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The Right Approach to Failure

If you plan on making a change in your life, no matter how big or how small, chances are that you'll run into an obstacle or two. No amount of planning or preparation can completely eliminate the risk of setbacks or short-term failures, which is why you must develop one skill in particular if you are ever going to experience the results you desire.

And that skill is turning setbacks into stepping stones.

For most people, the experience of failing - or even the thought of it occurring in the future - is enough to bring a complete end to a worthwhile goal or idea; the number of dreams or ambitions that have been stopped short of success due to struggles with failure are too great to count.

Unfortunately, the statistics show that the same will happen to you develop your ability to benefit from mistakes and missteps, that is.

What's the secret to the skill? In essence, it comes down to a new approach. It comes down to viewing setbacks and failures as tools for improvement. Among the many examples used to demonstrate this principle, the one below is sure to make the point loud and clear:

A man starts a business along Main Street selling groceries. At first, his business is booming and all is well. However, the story soon changes. His customer traffic begins to drop, his sales follow suit, and in no time at all he is struggling to get by.

No matter how hard he tried to discover the root of the problem, no solutions could be found. Until an unhappy customer (setback) walked through his doors.

After a brief conversation, the cause of the problem became clear. In a few day's time, the issue was solved and traffic once again returned to healthy levels. Crisis averted.

This simple story holds the key to overcoming and benefiting from all of the setbacks you may encounter along the path of improvement. Happy customers walked in and out of the store for weeks without ever providing a clue as to why things were going well. As a result, nothing could be built upon the success.

However, the instant someone complained, information became available. It was as if someone had offered a guaranteed strategy for improvement on a silver platter.

Success can often be a mystery, revolving around countless elements and variables difficult to dissect and fully understand. But a failure, a major setback, these things offer clear proof of a problem that needs attention. They give you the wake-up call and information you need to make a change for the better.

When you fail to get the results you want, or think about the possibility of failing in the future, resist the pattern of thinking that typically accompanies such news. Instead, accept setbacks as part of the process and, more importantly, as a sure way to improve and succeed.

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