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Don’t Be Afraid Of Failure

Updated on February 8, 2013
jpcmc profile image

I'm a dad, husband, and Christian first. The rest is just life's add-ons: an educator, administrator, learning & development professional.


I try to surround myself with successful people, knowledgeable mentors and experienced entrepreneurs. The basic idea is to learn from people around me. More than just their secret formula to success, I want to learn what drives these people to go beyond their potentials. One common attribute that they share is their fearless attitude - especially towards failure.

Failure is an opportunity to deliver better results

I got the chance to talk to Bong, the head of the technical department of a leading amusement industry player in the Philippines. I was amazed at how innovative and creative the game machines that they produced. Apart from going beyond the international standards, the technical team was able to pull down production costs while increasing the number of outputs. It’s no easy feat for any company.

The simple question was how they did this. The response I got was not what I was expecting. He bluntly said, “We had to fail miserably several times” in the past. Every time Bong hears the phrase, “failure is not an option” he can’t help but smile. He confidently said that with the right mindset, failure is an opportunity to deliver better results.

Have you experienced a disastrous failure in your life?

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Failure gives you direction

There was a time when I had a chance to have lunch with the CEO of a Real Estate company. Linda has been in the business for more than 50 years now. We were talking about a customer service and sales training I was designing for her company. In a testing way, she asked me what I can teach her considering she was already in the business even before I was born. I asked her if she had an email address. She quickly replied yes, I have an executive assistance looking after it. Then I asked her about Facebook, twitter, LinkedIn and other social media sites. She answered none. Then I smiled and told her that this was a good reason why I should do this training. Times are changing, the methods are evolving. As such skills and know-how must change with it.

She admitted that her failure to adapt to technology limited her. Worse, she dragged her company’s sales and marketing efforts down. Before we finished the main course, she blurted out that it was about time to make the needed changes. Then she said something truly unforgettable: “Failure to do something clearly shows what direction to take”.

Failure puts one’s accountability in check

In a Manager’s Mental Attitude Training I conducted, I met Chris, a manager handling a relatively large division. In the training, we had an exercise where everyone talked about the greatest failures they had. It so happened, Chris was facing a dip in his sales output and there is so much pressure on his shoulders. During the exercise, one part was to jot down the possible reasons for the failure. So he scribbled as the others did. The training went well. But the real astonishing event happened several days after the training. I got a call from Chris wanting to meet with me. So I indulged. He brought out a piece of paper and slowly unfolded it. He said that the exercise we had a few days back kept bugging him. He wanted to fix his situation so he reviewed what he wrote. He turned the paper to face me and I began to read. On his pad, he wrote 6 items. All of which, started with “They did” or “They did not”. I brought my gaze back at him and he was smiling. “Do you see the problem?" he asked. Without even waiting for an answer from me, he exuberantly exclaimed, I’m the problem. As a manager and leader, I failed to accomplish my accountability. I simply relied on others to do my work. Of course he said it in a more passionate and eloquent way.

Success offers us a euphoric state that lifts any person. But failure often results in seeking faults of others. Chris was different. His failure prompted him to look within and renew his commitment to his subordinates and to his company. More importantly, he gained his confidence back in spite of the failures he faced.

Of course, we want success. In most anything we do, we strive for a positive outcome. However, there will be times when failure hits us hard and fast. At times it crawls slowly and silently that we don’t recognize it until it’s too late. Regardless of how it engulfs us and our business, we must not fear it. Rather, we must learn from it.


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    • jpcmc profile image

      JP Carlos 4 years ago from Quezon CIty, Phlippines

      Hi there Raitu Disong,

      Thank yo for stopping by. I hope you can use the info here.

    • Raitu Disong profile image

      Raitu Disong 4 years ago

      Awesome hub, thanks for sharing:)

    • jpcmc profile image

      JP Carlos 4 years ago from Quezon CIty, Phlippines

      Hi there Lisawilliamsj,

      I'm glad this hub was useful. I just hope that i works out well for you. Do share us your experiences. Thank you for the kind words.

    • Lisawilliamsj profile image

      Lisa Williams 4 years ago

      Wow, I could not have read this well written Hub at a better time! Thank you for sharing this insightful advice! I definitely learned something from it! I voted up.

    • jpcmc profile image

      JP Carlos 4 years ago from Quezon CIty, Phlippines

      Hello ChitrangadaSharan,

      I really starts with the right mindset. We choose how we want to see situations. Help me spread hope in the face of difficulties. :)

    • ChitrangadaSharan profile image

      Chitrangada Sharan 4 years ago from New Delhi, India

      Very nice message in the form of a hub. Like many I have had more failures than successes in my life. And it is remarkable, how each failure makes you even more strong. Failures in fact give more motivation to do better in life.

      Thank you so much for this motivating hub!

    • jpcmc profile image

      JP Carlos 5 years ago from Quezon CIty, Phlippines

      How's it going CarNoobz,

      The Internet is a very dynamic place. What's trending now may not be a few days from now. We simply have to go with our gut and do our best. Thanks for the additional insights as well.

    • jpcmc profile image

      JP Carlos 5 years ago from Quezon CIty, Phlippines

      Hello MarieAlana1,

      I like the idea of failure as a stepping stone. We often see it as a stumbling block instead. See you around.

    • jpcmc profile image

      JP Carlos 5 years ago from Quezon CIty, Phlippines

      Hi there denise.w.anderson,

      Failure should motivate us to become better. it's good to know that you faced failure in a positive way. I hope more people are like you.

      Here's to more positive encounters. Cheers!

    • jpcmc profile image

      JP Carlos 5 years ago from Quezon CIty, Phlippines

      Hello carol7777,

      Unless we learn from our failures, it will remain as such the rest of our lives. we need to take all the lessons learned and do the needed changes. thanks for sharing your ideas. The kind words are also appreciated. See you around.

    • CarNoobz profile image

      CarNoobz 5 years ago from USA

      This is especially true when it comes to creating online businesses, blogging, Internet marketing, etc. So many who start websites -- or even who write on HubPages -- are so afraid of failure that they never really put themselves out there. They're always holding back.

      But if you want to be successful online, you've got to push. You can't be so afraid of the next Google update that you never really do anything. Playing it safe is a great way to NOT make money online lol

      Great insights. voted up

    • MarieAlana1 profile image

      Marie Alana 5 years ago from Ohio

      Great hub! It is very moving. Failure is not truly failure if one has managed to put themself on their own two feet again in order to try something new or to go on. It is simply a stepping stone along that path.

    • denise.w.anderson profile image

      Denise W Anderson 5 years ago from Bismarck, North Dakota

      History has shown us time and again that failure is simply those who stop trying. As long as we get up, learn something, and go on, failure has served its purpose. It took me a long time to pull myself together after my most recent fiasco, but I have to thank the situation for giving me the incentive to go forward with my new career as a writer.

    • carol7777 profile image

      carol stanley 5 years ago from Arizona

      i think for the most part failures exceed successes in life. But that one success goes a long way. I have learned some hard lessons from failure. I think most of us have. You did a great job on this hub.