Why (Some) Failures Get Ahead In Life

This is the sixth in a series of posts about the lessons I wish I’d learned earlier in life.

I’ll admit it, I’m a perfectionist. I spend way too much time trying to make sure that everything is just right (read: perfect) before I show it to anyone. Besides the fact that I waste precious time beating myself up over trivial things, I’ve learned that there is a huge benefit to pushing things out quickly to see if they even work.It’s called the art of failing fast.

A fascinating New York Times article on the many errors in thinking about mistakes explains why we all tend to avoid mistakes in the first place:

We grow up with a mixed message: making mistakes is a necessary learning tool, but we should avoid them.

The problem is the vast majority of us (myself included) were probably raised this way, so encouraging us to embrace failure is – gasp!! – blasphemy. Get over it.

The same article continues:

“We get fixated on achievement,” he said, but, “everyone is talking about the need to innovate. If you already know the answer, it’s not learning. In most personal and business contexts, if you avoid the error, you avoid the learning process.

Here’s what you can do today: Recognize that old habits die hard and make the decision to be more open to — or less afraid of — making mistakes. Then, just get started.

Feel free to email me if you need some extra motivation, I’m always happy to help.