failure is the goal

failure is the goal

I think the term failure has gotten a bad rap.

I did a top secret presentation for a certain military agency in the past. I won’t use their name or what I was speaking on (if you know my research you can get a pretty idea of the topic), but I can say that they are responsible for stuff like the freaking internet, GPS, etc. Pretty major stuff.

One thing that I was surprised at was how subcontractors could get fired.

It had nothing to do with budget, money or performance per say.

In fact, the fastest way to lose the contract according to the guy I talked to there was to NOT fail enough.

Yep, if you were not failing, in their eyes you were not trying. And therefore were farther from a solution.

You were rewarded by failing.

Hard to argue with their results historically speaking.

They did not view failure as bad, it was in fact REQUIRED.

Emotional Attachment

We are the ones that “attach” whatever emotions to “failure” (or any word for that matter).

Many times this is done subconsciously.

This was a hard lesson for me to learn too.

One of the phrases I told myself when doing my PhD as I had to rework papers many many times. I even got farmed out to a different department to work on a project there, only to find out 1.5 years into it that what we found could not be published (no result was seen).

The phrase was

“there is no failure, only feedback”

To be honest, most times I FELT horrible at the feedback.

It was a process to understand that failure would make me stronger and I was the one attaching the emotions to it.

While this is still a work in progress, I am better.

The goal is to fail forward as fast as possible.

Dr Mike

PS – If you liked this post, you must check this out below