Failing forward is for winners – Failure is for losers

This should be your code.

Failure is giving up, admitting defeat, throwing in the towel. If you are unwilling to get back up and continue the fight you are a failure. The only option is to pivot, reassess and continue. Failing forward.

Failing is inevitable. Failure is a choice.

Failing forward is the act of learning from our setbacks to push us closer to success.

Here is an excerpt from an interview Tim Ferriss has with Arnold Schwarzenegger on his podcast which illustrates that the more successful you are, the more failures you have in your past.

I had my failures in bodybuilding. I lost bodybuilding competitions. Most people only know my victories, which were a lot. But I’ve also lost. I lost in weight lifting.

I lost in powerlifting. I embarrassed myself many times trying to lift the 500 pounds on the bench press in front of 2,000 people in a beer hall in Germany, and I failed, and it crashed on my chest, and I couldn’t make it. But, eventually, I did make it. And I had failures in the movie business. I remember I had a lot of movies that went through the roof, but then, there were movies that went right in the toilet that were not as successful, books that I came out with that were on the New York Times bestseller list, and then, others that didn’t live up to the expectations and failed. So, yes, we have those kinds of things.

And to me, the key thing is always did we learn from it. I had failures also I remember in my personal life. And I learned from that. And then, you move on again. What is important is that you get up. When you fall, the winner always gets up, and the loser stays down. That’s what is the difference. And to me, the important thing is always that, when you fail in something, you get up, you dust yourself off, and you move on and have gained a great vision of which direction you want to go.

Pick another goal, and keep moving forward.

Arnold Schwarzenegger

Failure Defined

For the purpose of this article, I’m defining the two terms separately:

Failure = Giving up on a goal/objective after experiencing setbacks or difficulties

Failing/Fail = The process of experiencing setbacks or difficulties

Everyone Fails at some point when attempting a task, it’s what we chose to learn from Failing that makes us a Failure or not. You must make the choice for failing forward.

It seems a common misconception, especially amongst people who haven’t achieved anything, that luck or some unseen force determines success. Sort of like hitting the lotto jackpot, your number comes up or it doesn’t. This is the mindset of someone who will never make anything with their lives. There is a reason why the majority of millionaire lotto winners go bankrupt within 3 years. These people never learned to persevere. They never learned how to pick themselves up after falling on their face.

Take a look at men who are successful with women. It is often said that dating/asking a girl out is a numbers game. If you try to get a date with a woman, odds are you will get shot down. So what do you do? You could let that rejection completely destroy you like it has so many men. You could give up on women completely, live in your parent’s basement with your only pleasure being video games and internet porn.

Or you could brush it off and find another girl to ask out. As it turns out the world is full of beautiful women. The more successful you are at anything, the more failures will be in your past. This is failing forward.

True failure is giving up after experiencing setbacks/adversity. It’s the choice to not continue.

failing forward

How Winners Deal with Failing

Five steps to take after a setback

  1. Stop and Assess
    • After a failure take some time to reflect on the failure. Don’t automatically respond or make decisions based on emotions.
  2. Determine the cause of setback 
    • Why did you fail? Does something need to change or should you keep going forward with your plan as-is?
  3. Readjust goal/plan as necessary 
    • If you determined your plan needs correction, determine what needs to be changed and put those items in place.
  4. Start again with a new forward plan 
    • This is where we redouble our efforts to move forward. We made the changes and are ready to take action again – learning from our mistakes.
  5. Repeat 
    • Step five is critical. As we discussed in “Embrace the Suck”, you need to get comfortable with the uncomfortable. Failure is a precursor to success.

Colonel Sanders traveled and cooked his chicken for different restaurant owners over 1000 times before he made one sale. Think about that. How many of you would have that kind of dedication that you get turned down that many times and keep going? That is a mindset that only winners have. His dedication is why we know his name today.

Failing is inevitable. Being a Failure is a choice.

Shift your mindset and fail forward!

Stay Superior!!

Photo by Debora Cardenas on Unsplash

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Matt is a husband, a father, an avid motorcycle rider, and an all around awesome guy.

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