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Differentiating Feedback from Failure

Everyone makes mistakes and experiences setbacks. You have a choice between allowing yourself to be waylaid by your undesirable results or learning the lessons that have presented themselves, dust yourself off and have another shot at jumping the hurdle.

Think of a sailor navigating a boat from Southampton to Sydney. Does he throw up his hands in horror and sob into his hanky if he goes slightly off course or does he work out the adjustments he needs to make and then turn the helm and keep an eye on the compass?

Normal 'feedback' is associated with receiving input or getting a response from another person. The meaning of feedback also can include the result or outcome you may get from a particular situation.

Thomas Alva Edison is the person to learn from about feedback. Although he is famous for inventing the light bulb, he was a prolific inventor. His genius lay in trying out his ideas, learning from 'unexpected' results and recycling concepts from an experiment that did not work in other inventions. Where other people saw Edison's thousands of attempts at inventing the light bulb as failures, Edison simply saw each trial as yet another way of learning how not to make a light bulb.

Worrying about "failure" keeps you focused on the past and the problems. If you examine the results you have already got, even if they are unwanted, you can then shift your focus onto possibilities and move forward.

When you're faced with "failure," find opportunities for growth by asking yourself the following questions.

Think of something you 'failed' at and ask yourself:

  • What am I aiming to achieve?
  • What have I achieved so far?
  • What feedback have I had?
  • What lessons have I learned?
  • How can I put the lessons to positive use?
  • How will I measure my success?
  • Then pick yourself up and have another go!

Can you imagine a world where you gave up learning to walk simply because you fell over the first time you stood up to walk?

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