Fail, Fail & Grow

Fail, Fail & Grow

As we start with any kind of creative endeavor one of the hardest things is the lack of direction, especially as we are just starting.

We might have some objective such as getting this many followers or being featured in this website, but many times its really hard to break it down into the steps needed. To deconstruct it so that we can know when we are getting close.

And this with time can hurt our motivation, which is why an external boost can be a great help. Find something to challenge your skills, something that is out of your comfort zone, something that would make you start making excuses the moment you think about it.

Find it and go for it because it can give you way more than you expect. In my case I chose innovation competitions, and this is why recommend challenging yourself.

Why competitions:

Last year I participated for the first time in an entrepreneurship competition and I can tell you it was one of the best experiences ever. You get a high stress low stakes situation where you are forced to get out of your comfort zone, it gives you a chance to see how to improve and a chance to meet amazing people.

They force you to give the best you have to use all you know and try it against the mettle of others and while it might seem counterintuitive the important part here isn’t whether we win the competition or not.

What is important is just participating because it forces you to get rid of excuses. A chance to try your best and see how it goes and to get feedback constantly, and in the end you can get a fulfilment by seeing the result of the competition.

Photo by Braden Collum on Unsplash

Whether you win or lose isn’t important, you will get the rush either way and the greatest rewards come from failing.

Why it doesn’t matter even if you fail

Failure, even if it hurts, can be a good wake up call. It could act as a primer to make you work harder. Because now you know, that you can improve, that there are places where, with more work, you could reach a higher goal.

I believe it can be one of the best fuels for motivation (albeit not the healthiest), and that it can act as the best guidepost. I see it as one of the few experiences that can tell you where exactly you are lacking, they give you fuel for introspection.

It gives you a chance to understand how your skills fare compared with the world and a way to understand that you can reach even greater heights. If there are things you can actually improve in, doesn’t that also mean that you can travel this road way further.

Photo by William Bout on Unsplash

The important part, how do you actually use failure as a fuel to become better.

Turning it into a strength:

1. Accept that it happened.

Well the first step is to actually accept it. No excuses about not caring about it or having done it just because. If you did it while being half assed and failed that means that you have to work on your diligence and perseverance.

Not trying hard enough isn’t an excuse for failure, it will only make you get used to cowering behind excuses. And believe me that is something you really don’t want to do. If you in that direction you will start finding excuses for anything and everything and working hard will get even more difficult.

Turning it into a strength:

1. Accept that it happened.

Well the first step is to actually accept it. No excuses about not caring about it or having done it just because. If you did it while being half assed and failed that means that you have to work on your diligence and perseverance.

Not trying hard enough isn’t an excuse for failure, it will only make you get used to cowering behind excuses. And believe me that is something you really don’t want to do. If you in that direction you will start finding excuses for anything and everything and working hard will get even more difficult.

Photo by Simon Migaj on Unsplash

2. Understand why you failed.

The second step is to try to deconstruct it and understand why you were unable to achieve the result you wanted. Ask the jury and your teammates which were the parts they found lacking and if they can think of any way in which other participants made it better.

This is incredibly useful, because if you know exactly which parts you should improve it helps a lot in knowing where you should focus your energy. Having concrete goals can be a really good motivator.

Remember that the more vague the goal the harder it is to stay motivated in the long run. Always try to add something you can measure, be it rewarding yourself for the time spent on it, or working on projects and seeing how you get better as time goes.

Read more about the topic and see which are the usual tips or which are the comments by experts on the field and try to see if you committed any of the mistakes they mentioned, as well as trying to see if there are any skills you can learn that are expected or that would be useful to achieve what you want.

Photo by Andrew Neel on Unsplash

3. Use what you learned and improve.

Last but not least. Start working on it. Set a schedule with concrete goals and try to work towards them step by step. At the end of each day write your achievements, it helps a lot in keeping motivation and in getting you to be more positive. Keep on applying to more stuff, if you wait too long after you get the rejection, you might have an even harder time and you could get into the habit of waiting until you are ‘’prepared’’ enough.

The fact is that, you will never be prepared enough, you can always improve so just try your best and send it and worst case scenario you can get some concrete feedback on how to improve.

Photo by Bruno Nascimento on Unsplash

Take the first step as soon as you can by accepting the situation and making the first stepping stone for your path.

Conclusion

In my case it was competitions. They were the way in which I learned how to make the most of failure but it doesn’t have to be the same for you. Each one of us has something that can get them out of their comfort zone and take them closer to their objective

Find what it is for you and go for it. Challenge yourself and see how you can do more than you though find a way and get a chance to obtain much appreciated feedback, because it’s really hard to get real feedback.

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