The importance of failure

19 Sep 2019 Career Advice
The importance of failure

Nobody likes to admit to, much less experience, failure

For most of our working life (and even our personal lives) we take great pains to not only minimise the chances of failure, but to cover it up when it happens or to keep up the appearance of success. Maintaining one’s composure and boosting one’s self esteem is important, as it prevents us from looking weak, incompetent or giving up, but admitting to failure can at times be just as important too.

Failure in itself can actually be a positive thing, in moderation, and learning to deal with it is not only an important skill when it comes to a person’s career, but is also a core life skill. In any case, nobody wins all of the time, so getting to grips with failure is something we all need to do. Here are some points on the subject you might want to consider.

Failure is how you learn

One of the most positive things about failing is it often highlights where we are going wrong. Long-term problems and unproductive ways of thinking and acting can often go unnoticed or be pushed under the carpet for a very long time, and it’s only when their adverse effects finally come into play that we are forced to re-evaluate and make changes.

This trend is almost universal, and it’s worth noting that the longer issues are left undealt with, the more catastrophically we are likely to fail. Those who try multiple approaches to things and experiment often tend to fail on a regular basis, but they also tend to learn quickly from their mistakes and avoid more serious pitfalls. This is particularly important when you are new to a job or starting out your career, as once you learn to fail, you can learn from failing too.

It breeds humility

People who have never suffered a serious setback or experienced failure tend to build an inner picture of themselves as immune to such things, and this can eventually breed a degree of arrogance. Such people can to be destructive, as they are more likely to act on impulse and are less able to empathise with others when things go wrong for them.

They also don’t tend to be very popular with their peers, particularly as when they do eventually fail, they are not able to admit to it fully or to deal with it with equanimity. Learning to lose with grace is important when it comes to bonding with co-workers.

Failure proves that you’re human

Nobody likes a sore loser, but nobody likes people who win all the time either. If you are prone to a certain amount of failure and are happy to admit it, others will tend to be more sympathetic when things are going wrong and to offer help and support. This is particularly important when working as a team, as a group who can accept and deal with a setback collectively is much stronger. If you can admit to failure early on and also learn to take on a portion of responsibility for the mishaps of others in your team, you’ll often find that the consequences aren’t so bad and you quickly find solutions together.

It’s often a good sign

If you’re not failing, you probably aren’t succeeding either. Failure is a natural part of any process, particularly at work when many factors and individuals come into play and time is often short. A certain amount of failure is therefore inevitable, so take it as a sign that you’re fully involved and getting things done. A good manager will realise this is the case, and should be supportive when the time comes, unless you make an unhealthy habit of failure as a rule.

To find out how to deal with setbacks at work and to learn from your mistakes whilst building your career, get in touch with the recruitment experts here at Morgan Hunt.

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