How often do you hear people say that you should learn from your mistakes? From your parents, boss, mentors, and graduation / commencement speeches, we ofter hear people highlight the value of learning from our failures?
What if we look at it in an upside down perspective?
Jason Fried, founder of Basecamp, wrote on his book "Rework": What do you really learn from your mistakes? You might learn what 'not' to do again, but how valuable is that? - You still do not know what you 'should' do next.
Contrast that with learning from your successes. Success gives you real ammunitions. When something succeeds, you know what have worked, and you can do it again. And next time, you'll probably do it even better (Fried, 2010).
Forbes article by Stephen Meyer concluded with the following quote, "Just as the failures of others teach us more than their successes, our own successes teach us more than our failures".
All this said, there’s no denying that people do learn from their failures. But here’s a thought: Maybe failure is really interesting to explore only after success has been achieved. Looking back on a successful life, or doing a post-mortem on an endeavor that ended well, incremental failures add texture and nuance to a winning story.
But if you’re still not on top of the mountain, maybe it’s best to figure out what you’re really good at, then focus like a laser beam on creating a success you can call your own (Meyer, 2014).
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