Saturday, December 16

Success Tip: Failure is Not an Option

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Stop for a moment. Now imagine what you can achieve if you knew you could not fail. Wishful thinking? Not really. Inherent in any endeavor is the danger of failure and it is often this fear alone that inhibits people from achieving success. The truth of the matter is you cannot fail.

How is that possible, you ask? Simply because there is no such thing as failure. The term failure is merely our personal interpretation of an event. Interpretations that are based on beliefs we have developed and accepted through past experiences. As they are our interpretations, they exist only in our minds.

In our journey towards success, learning the technique of reframing is a valuable skill to have. Mastering it will enable us not only to take action, but also to use it as a stepping-stone towards future success.

The Three-Step Process

The preliminary step in this process is for you to adopt the belief there is no such thing as failure. To do this, you start by viewing results as outcomes that are neutral and that only have the meanings you give it. In other words, results are only as good, or as bad, as you decide it to be. Let’s take the example of you pitching for a major contract and not getting it. Most people will frame this event negatively and begin to doubt their ability to make effective sales presentations. They may also view the subsequent loss of the contract as an indication that they are a failure.

Step One: Reframe. As our interpretation, and hence the meanings we give an outcome, depends on what we focus on. In this first Step, having already accepted the outcome as neutral, you reframe the outcome by choosing not only to interpret them differently, but also to interpret them constructively. In reframing, you deliberately choose to focus on the positive aspects of an outcome. In the example given above, you reframe by shifting the focus from the mistake you made and the loss of the contract, to the fact that you now have valuable feedback that your current sales presentation is ineffective.

Step Two: Learn. In Step Two, you objectively review your presentation to see what and where you went wrong, seeking to discover areas that need improvement. This is a crucial Step in the process, as you must look upon results not only as outcomes but also as opportunities to learn and hence improve. It is said, “If you keep doing what you have always done, you will keep getting what you have always gotten.” Only by choosing to learn from every outcome, will you gain the maximum benefit from a “failure.”

Step Three. Try again. After learning from the outcome, you must then change your approach and try again. It is interesting to note that consistently learning and improving yourself daily will yield phenomenal results. A consistent daily improvement of just 1%, will not yield an improvement of 365% at the end of 365 days, but a whopping 3678%. In the example given, using the lessons derived from your review, you then make the necessary changes to your presentation and try again.


In our journey towards success, it is important to have a mentality that enables us to make lemonade if life gives us lemons. This mindset not only ensures that every setback we encounter is a step in the right direction, but also that every “failure” means we are one-step closer to success.


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