10 Stunning Benefits of Failure
Success teaches repetition. Do more of the same because more of the same produces more of the same.
In changing times more of the same is deadly.
Success teaches confidence. Without confidence progress stalls, second-guessing prevails, the status quo persists. On the down side, success inflates confidence.
Bill Gates said, “Success is a lousy teacher.
It seduces smart people into thinking they can’t lose.”
Too much confidence spawns failure. The vulnerabilities of over-confidence include:
- Failure to explore root causes of success.
- Resistance to evaluation.
- Feelings of invincibility.
- Closed ears.
Failure humbles some and angers others. Humble leaders:
- Ask what caused failure. Exploring failure is the most useful result of failure.
- Know they don’t know. Not knowing is the first step to knowing.
- Adapt. Stubborn resistance to adapting reveals arrogance.
- Know limitations.
- Acknowledge weaknesses to themselves and others. Transparency marks humble leaders.
- Seek advice and welcome feedback from all quarters.
- Welcome help. High potentials don’t say, “I can do it on my own.”
- Give credit.
- Respect skill in others.
- Honor teams rather than steal credit.
Bonus: Display compassion even during the rigorous pursuit of excellence.
Watch team members respond to failure, frustration, and falling short. Continue stretching the humble and coaching the angry. Elevate the humble.
Work with the arrogant. If they refuse to grow, eliminate them. Humility builds. Arrogance destroys.
It’s a tough call because confidence is essential to success. But over-confidence, eventually fails. The ten responses to failure help identify high-potentials.
What benefits have failure produced in your life?
How do you identify high potential employees?
Great advice, I can certainly relate to part one! 🙂
I love this comment from “The Last Lecture” by the late Randy Pausch: “Brick walls are not there to stop you, they are there to make you prove how much you want something.”
Thanks for your first contribution this year Joe.
The first thing I look for in high potentials is desire. Do they want it. Very useful quote.
great ideas – humility (with strength) is everything, and that muscle is developed through failure. Thanks for a great post.
My experience confirms your observation.
I love this, becuase I leaned this lesson as a teenager. I was overly cocky, and for a short period of time a verbal and physical bully. I got a good correction from a bigger boy. It taught me that my attitudes and actions can bring hurt to myself and others.
Similar to your #6, failure helps me to try and look at a situation from all points of view. You don’t want to over analyze and never make a decision, but a failure can help you slow down long enough to realize you don’t know it all.
am humble already this insite as rather put me on the high side.
I learned early in my career that saying “Here’s what I did wrong and this is how I will do it differently in the future” was key to earning respect and trust of those around me. Acknowledging my failures made my peers more comfortable and showing how I learned from them helped my bosses to see that I had critical thinking skills.
My biggest challenge continues to be #7 .. welcome help. Not because I think I know it all but because somewhere along the line, I picked up the message that to ask for help was weak. Asking for help is very often harder than pushing through alone, but in the end, so worth it, in no small part because of strengthened relationships and trust built from a journey together.
Needed to hear this today Thank you – I have had my share of failure in last few days
Another thought provoking post.
One danger popped in my mind as I read over your 4 Dan. 5 for me is a closed mind, the big kahuna of dangers! When the mind is closed all bets are off. Dummies who do this forget the benefit of a parachute which only comes to the user when open.
Thanks Dan for starting my day off again getting my brain engaged.
I hadn’t heard “humility vs arrogance” worked into the failure topic before. Brilliant, Dan! This perspective is a hidden gem that well deserves highlighting. I see it as a great body cue in determining how a person might really be feeling about his/her failure.
Thank you for your continued wisdom you bring to your posts!
“Work with the arrogant. If they refuse to grow, eliminate them. Humility builds. Arrogance destroys.” ~Very powerful. I find this hard to do in our non-profit environment, but you have reminded me of the importance…thanks!
You did a wonderful job it shows not arrogance but pride!
Amen. To all of it.
I’ve learned way more from my failures thAn from my successes. In fact, many of my successes are BECAUSE I learned from failure. At this point in my life, I have learned to try to make new mistakes rather than replay the old ones (but the only thing I’m increasingly aware of now is how little I really know). Every new situation is different- it may demand different actions in order to obtain success than what you did previously. Past experience may give you a place to start, but be willing to try a new paradigm.
Awesome advice! I’ve seen way too often how arrogance closes their minds to the ideas of the humble. Yet as a supervisor, I’ve seen how the humble get a lot more work done with higher quality overall.
Every success I’ve ever had has come as a direct result of soul searching, and hard work following a painful faliure.
To add on to your list, humble leaders own the failure. If 94%+ of the failures are process and the rest poor training, the accountability for process and training is under the dominion of leadership not the individual or team who failed.
You can package in that most failures happen due to poor communication or the lack of….so looking at your communication process and standard would be a wise approach.
Display compassion (and humor) in the rigorous pursuit of excellence (and failure). I would rather have a process fail internally so that it can be corrected and not reach/impact those we serve.
And to riff off of B. Gates quote…’success seduces people into thinking they are smart.’
Thanks for the good post. I take it, but those who are riding a financial crest may be too complacent to listen!
Thank you Dan for these great words of wisdom! Enjoy your Monday!
Thank you for creating and sharing Dan. This is a timely signpost and much needed boost 🙂
Reblogged this on IN the Lead and commented:
I read this post this bu Dan Rockwell morning and thought it to be worth sharing. Failure is something that none of us want to experience, yet it teaches us so much about ourselves, about others, and about our own limitations or areas to avoid.
Dan captures this very well in his 10 Stunning Benefits of Failure.
Dan, great post. In addition to the points you make, failure allows you to see where your assumptions are invalid. You expect one thing, another thing happens – that’s failure, but also information. Why did things turn out differently? What is inaccurate about my model of the world? As a result of failure, we understand more about ourselves and our situations, which (if we put it to use) makes us more creative, adventurous and wise.
“…that’s failure, but also information.” Kapow!
another great post. its my first time in your blog and i have already fallen deep into your posts. u have failed countless times both in business and in life. one thing didn’t change… in every failure, i gain wisdom. 🙂
Great article-is success good or bad?
Sometimes you have to fail in order to succeed!!