Sometimes, to achieve the greatest success, you have to embrace the prospect of failure. You can gain courage, perspective and wisdom with each failure to take on even greater challenges.
“I don’t measure a man’s success by how high he climbs but by how high he bounces when he hits bottom.” – George Patton
In college, I had a professor who served as Patton’s assistant. He taught us a lot about the quote above. It was probably one of my best classes ever and it prepared me well for our industry. I offer three key lessons he taught us:
- Give thanks for your problems and challenges. By facing our challenges and overcoming them, we grow stronger, wiser and more compassionate. Many times we get things right by analyzing what went wrong. He used to say, “One of the best ways to learn math is to be given problems to solve. One of the best ways to prepare for an athletic event is to practice with a strong, competitive opponent.”
- Failure produces results or outcomes you can learn from each time. View failure as an entry point for learning so you may continue growing. He used to say, “You haven’t failed until you stop trying.”
- Disappointment and failure are just the feedback that gives us the opportunity to change. Oftentimes, failure is necessary for real learning to occur. Learning to overcome these obstacles is the very thing that forms character.