4 Lessons I Learned the Hard Way

Growing up, I didn’t fail much. School was easy. I was good at sports. I hit a home-run my first at bat in Little League. I was taller than my peers.

I felt self-confident even though I hadn’t earned the right to be confident.

I still cringe inside when I recall striking out in the playoffs during my last at bat. I began my baseball career with a homerun and ended it with three swings.

Since then, I’ve disappointed myself many times. But my biggest failure isn’t one specific failure.

My biggest failure is ignoring the lessons of failure.

4 lessons I learned the hard way:

#1. Meaningful success is hard.

You don’t bounce back from failure. You grind back.

I interviewed scores of potential teachers in my former life as a Workforce Development Consultant. Some were clueless.

Novices make light of tough challenges because they haven’t failed enough.

Inexperience underestimates the time, effort, and grit it takes to excel.

#2. Respect the work and talent of others.

  1. You aren’t the center of the universe.
  2. Stop nitpicking everyone.
  3. Honor others.

#3. Seek help.

Before failure, you might appreciate friends. But after failure, you know you need others.

#4. Practice humility even if you don’t feel humble.

  1. Ask questions.
  2. Seek feedback.
  3. Pursue constant improvement.


I’m not interested in reflecting on failure because when I think of failure, I feel embarrassment and regret.

I still feel embarrassed when I think of my first presentation. I had enough confidence to stand up front. But I had so much confidence that I hadn’t prepared properly.

  1. Regret closes your mind to reflection.
  2. Lack of reflection leads to repetition.

You repeat failure when you don’t learn from failure.

When failure comes knocking, invite him for tea. What is he teaching you?

Failure teaches you what matters.

What have you learned from failure?

Which of these lessons could you practice today?

BONUS: Netflix is offering a new series on March 1, 2019 – LOSERS. It’s about the lessons of failure.