I've always been a pretty competitive person. From playing volleyball as a teenager, to playing Monopoly as an adult (my formal apologies to anyone who had to play monopoly with me. For real. I'm sorry. I had to use the skills I learned in business school okay?? I paid for those skills!!)
Winning was always so personal for me.
I've always felt a direct tie with my own worth to winning and an aversion to it's counterpart, losing.When I won I felt AMAZING, but when I lost or made any type of mistake it felt as if it took weeks to recover.
After a particularly difficult loss, I found myself unable to sleep, eat or even think straight. I spent my time re-running the loss in my head, asking myself what I could have done differently. I wondered why I was so stupid. I was stuck.
During this time, a friend gifted me a book. It was called "Sometimes You Win Sometimes You Learn". The book detailed misconceptions about failure and loss and how we can reset them to help us become better people.
This book has been integral in helping me throughout my time in a college entrepreneurship program and running a business.
Strangely enough, the first thing we’re taught in entrepreneurship isn’t sales, or how to count your first million in cash (a shame really). It’s how to fail. It feels weird because for most, the main goal of our lives seems to be learning different ways to avoid failing. We try our best to shield ourselves from the pain of failure; we don’t try things that we won’t be good at, we beat ourselves up for mistakes, and we learn to hide our failures from other people because HEAVEN FORBID SOMEONE KNOWS WE’RE HUMAN.
But we can learn more from failure than we could ever learn from a textbook, or even from doing something right all the time.
So, because you can't avoid failure, mistakes or loss, here are some 3 tips to becoming really good at failing from someone who's failed ALOT.
Fail fast and fail cheap. Don’t keep doing something when you know it isn’t working, and don’t keep spending money (or time!) on things that clearly aren’t providing you value.
- You are responsible for your actions after your mistake, but you are not your mistakes. One decision does not define you. It took me a long time to learn that one. Life will get better!
- Failure provides perspective. What is important to you? Why is it important that you succeed at that thing in the way you think you should succeed? Is it really important? How can you try again?
In addition to learning experiences, failure and mistakes also provide perspective. It allows you to strip your life down to the bare bones and look at what really matters. As I’ve begun to embrace failure, I’ve found myself full of more opportunities. I hope you’ll all begin to embrace the mantra--sometimes you win, sometimes you learn.
Then maybe you can start learning how to count your first million. You'll probably need it because after this article you'll be super good at learning everything and v successful so cool for you.
Remember us when you're famous.