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Almost any great success you can point to has at some point in its origin a failure or door closed that can be pointed to as the original seed of the success.

Robert Collier said, “In every adversity, there lies the seed of an equivalent advantage. In every defeat is a lesson showing you how to win the victory next time.” An old Chinese Proverb relates the theme in the words, “A gem cannot be polished without friction, nor a man perfected without trials.”

It is important to cling to this notion that failure and setbacks carry within their core opportunities. Some of these opportunities lie in new paths and new directions. Sometimes it may be in learning or experience to be stored away for future application. Sometimes it may be in rescuing ourselves from a path that would prove disastrous.

I can now look back at many of my experiences, which I certainly classified at the time as failures, with the clearer perception of time and see how each failure benefited me.

Failing Forward

Failure is a label that we attach to an event or a set of circumstances. In and of themselves, there is not an intrinsic meaning, but rather the meaning we attach to it. If you think you are about to get fired and waiting for the fateful call when the phone rings you are filled with apprehension and dread.

If on the other hand, you are expecting your boss to call to inform you of a raise or promotion your emotions are turned the other way. The ringing phone in and of itself provided no meaning. The meaning came from the emotions attached to it.

Trial and error is a part of how all of us have learned any skill we now possess. From simply walking to any complex skill that we have now, we each went through a process of learning through trying, failing, adapting, learning and repeating the cycle all over again.

What most people do after a failure or setback is to feel stung, hurt, embarrassed and refuse to try again. Worse, they dwell on the negative and let it influence future situations and future outcomes.

Growth follows failure. Robert Kennedy said, “Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly.”

This post is an excerpt from the book Stack the Logs written by Kahuna Business Group’s Founder/ CEO Frank F. Lunn.

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