Here’s a guest post from Ryan at Planting Dollars. I was intrigued by one of his comments of “failing forward” (not falling forward) and asked him if he’d be interested in writing a guest post about the topic. Please enjoy and visit his site afterwards. He has my envy of living in Hawaii and pursuing his dream of being a shark photographer! Best, Sam
Have you ever noticed that some of the most successful people in the world seem to just naturally fit in their role? It’s as if they’ve been perfectly sculpted to be the best actor, businessman, or even blogger.
I have a secret to tell you… It’s because of their previous experiences… The one’s you didn’t see before they became wildly and unbelievably successful. These people are actually the biggest failures in the world! But shhhhh, I didn’t tell you that…
Don’t believe me? I want you to try something… The next time you talk to a successful person simply ask them this question:
“What failures have you experienced on your journey towards being where you are today?”
They’ll probably talk your ear off for hours and you’ll begin to realize this: They’ve just swung the bat of life a few more times and eventually hit one out of the park.
SCULPTING A MASTERPIECE
Think of your failures as the strike of chisel. Each chisel strike adds a little more depth and a hint of uniqueness to the block of marble your live started as. Each new experience and failure is a lesson in life that teaches you something. Now, if you decide to not take risks, to be complacent, avoid new experiences, and ideas your life will not change much. You’ll still be just a hunk of un-sculpted marble waiting, just waiting, for someone to come along and call you a masterpiece.
But if you take risks and fail, and fail you will, you’ll be chiseled into greater and greater detail until finally, you’ve become a masterpiece. A masterpiece that you’ve made yourself. Through failing forward.
WHAT’S THE BEST WAY TO CREATE THIS MASTERPIECE?
Dive In! Just Jump! Feet first, eyes wide open!
If there’s something you’re curious about, simply try it. You’re going to suck at it, I guarantee it. In fact, you’re going to look like an absolute moron, but you know what? Who cares? You’re still alive so just laugh about it, get up, brush yourself off, send me an email about how horrible it was then go try again. You should be excited to fail forward because you’ll be learning new things, constantly growing, and becoming step by step closer to your very own version of success! How is that not exciting?
THERE’S FAILING, AND THEN THERE’S FAILING FORWARD
There’s a big difference here. Einstein said it best when he said:
“Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”
If you’re not constantly failing forward, you’re probably not aware you’re failing at all. Be honest with yourself, see the signs, take a step back, and swallow your pride. If you’re not happy, if you’re not growing, if you’re not trying new things, you’re probably failing. Once you’ve realized you’ve failed there’s only one question you need to ask yourself to fail forward:
“Why did I fail?”
Was it because you didn’t try hard enough, was it because the other person was better prepared, was it because you were going in the wrong direction, was it because you’re overweight and frankly, she doesn’t dig fat guys? It could be any number of reasons, but ask this question to yourself, and more importantly, ask it from other people who’ve seen you fail. They’ll often give you priceless feedback that you can learn from.
PUTTING MY MONEY WHERE MY MOUTH IS: A COUPLE EXAMPLES
A One Way Ticket to Hawaii from Wisconsin: That’s what I bought two months ago when I took a risk and decided to follow my passion of scuba diving. I rolled the dice of chance to follow a dream without regrets. Turns out I didn’t have anything to be scared of. I snorkel in my free time, still work off my debt, and landed a job in a field I enjoy M-F, 40 hours a week. Meanwhile back home they’re getting snowed on! I think this might not even be a failure, but if it was… It would’ve been me failing forward…
This guest blog post. I’ve never written a guest blog post before. Especially not for a blog ranked in the Alexa top 100,000. This is intimidating and odds are, it’ll fail. But here I am, jumping, throwing my self out there so you can tell me how crappy this article is, but yet how I can improve it (hint hint… comments much appreciated). However, tomorrow I’ll know that I did something completely new, something that’s scary, and something that made me grow.
I challenge you to do the same, to leap, to jump, to try something new. Once you’ve failed, realize that by doing so you’ve just become a little bit more chiseled and one step closer to becoming your very own masterpiece.
Ryan is a recent college graduate who blogs about personal finance, financial freedom, nomadic living, and following your passions. One of my favorite articles of his is “How To Live In Honolulu for Less Than $1,000 A Month”!
Readers, how have you “failed forward”, and what have you learned from the experience?
I tried to teach my wife how to surf yesterday and failed forward. She told me to leave her alone when I tried giving her a push a couple times when the waves came. I was annoyed she didn’t want my help, because the iddy biddy waves weren’t big enough for her to catch on her own. However, I knew she’d figure this out eventually, so I left her alone, not wanting to fight. Besides, I think she was nervous, wanted to acclimate on her own, and felt bad “wasting” my time.
When I returned 20 minutes later, she was exhausted and realized she needed some help. On one of the very last attempts, I gave her a push, and she stood up for a good 20 yards! Success! Sometimes she’s stubborn when it comes to learning new things as many of us are. I feel that each time she pushes me away and fails, she realizes that I’m only trying to help. This is my small story of failing forward towards better communication and understanding as a couple. What’s yours? Sam