This week I got great insight on failure at a talk given by Dom Sagolla, co-creator of Twitter and author of 140 characters. He meant to be telling us about success and innovation but what really stood out to me was what he said about failure. He said that as he went around the world talking about innovation he realized that not everyone has the same viewpoint on failure as we Americans do. Although we may not feel like it sometimes, we have a culture that has an appreciation of failure. This appreciation enables us to take risks, to try new things, to innovate. In essence, we are able to view failure as a source of information, growth, or learning, instead of an endpoint.
I left thinking about the stigma around failure. Realizing there are countries where a person can’t recover from the shame or indignity of failing. On the other hand, we have so many examples to remind us that enduring failure, does not have to be a source of shame, but instead it can be a source of learning, and we can go on to do extraordinary things.
“I didn’t see it then, but it turned out that getting fired from Apple was the best thing that could have ever happened to me. The heaviness of being successful was replaced by the lightness of being a beginner again, less sure about everything. It freed me to enter one of the most creative periods of my life.” ~ Steve Jobs
No one wants to fail. But because we avoid it so intensely we can miss out on doing the things that are important or meaningful to us. Think about your failures, we all have them, and see if you can find the unlooked for lesson, the nugget of learning, and give it a little gratitude. This shift from avoiding failure to appreciating failure makes me feel like dreaming a little bigger, I hope it does for you too.