We are all humans, therefore we are all prone to make mistakes every now and again. The key is to learn from these mistakes in order to not repeat them. Failure is something most people fear. However, once we accept it as a part of life we can use it to our advantage.
This will be a short post. I am on daddy daycare for Baby WIdget this week and although I thought that would allow me more time to write a post, I was very wrong. I have failed, what a great lead in!
This is of course not the first time I have failed in my life. Throughout my life and career I have had many failures. As I have grown older my view on failure has changed dramatically. I used to see it as only a bad thing with only negative consequences.
Truth is, honest mistakes are made all the time. Most of the time once you admit you made a mistake, you will not get in trouble and only have minor consequences to deal with.
Here are two big reasons failure is a good thing.
We Learn From It
Few experiences in life teach us more than our failures. Engineers fail all the time. There is a reason a tv show exists called “Engineering Disasters”. Obviously these are extreme cases of failure but they were all accidental and I am certain the people involved learned important lessons that made them better at their jobs.
Hopefully you have a boss that accepts honest mistakes as a part of life and encourages you to explore what went wrong so you can grow from it. It never feels good to make a mistake, but knowing you have support in your efforts to learn from them is very important.
Nobody is the perfect employee. I have met many brilliant people who seemingly never make mistakes. The truth is at some point these people have made mistakes. One of the reasons these people are so good is they have taken the mistakes they have made and become even better because of them.
We are Humbled by It
I have had times where I was feeling pretty great about myself. Confidence is great, but it is a fine line to cross over into cocky. Each time I have edged (jumped) over this line I have made a mistake that brings me back to reality. I am thankful for these instances, and over time have been better about crossing the line.
Getting awards for achievements at work or elsewhere are great. It is always nice being recognized for our efforts. However, it is not often acknowledged that mistakes made in the past have helped fuel these achievements.
I value my mistakes at work as much as my achievements. I keep designs on a shelf in my office that for one reason or another did not work. These are my failure awards! Every time I look at them I am reminded that failure is inevitable. It is not all negative though, I keep achievement certificates up as well.
If I were to list all the times I have failed this would be my longest post yet. I would not say I am proud of my failures, but I do appreciate them and their effect of making me a better person and engineer.
Readers: Do you agree that failure is an important part of being better at your job and in life? Are there other reasons you think failure is a good thing?