It's been one of those weeks. Eldest son went for football trails and got an offer, but not the offer he was hoping for. I had put myself forward for leading a community project that I really believed would make a positive difference but was told it wasn't the right time. The sixth form are revising for mocks and partner is learning some new programming which is driving him crazy.
What do all these things have in common?
They all require resilience.
It takes resilience to carry on when you have had a knock back. It takes resilience to put the hours of study in even when you feel like the studying is never ending but you do it because you have set yourself a goal and believe in yourself enough to keep going. It takes resilience to keep working at something you find difficult and frustrating because you know that if you keep working, you will get it...soon.
One of the other parents at the football trails was talking about how worried she was in case her son failed; how would he cope, was he better off not trying? I don't think so. We only learn resilience through failure and disappointment. We only learn how to get up when we have been knocked down.
Booker T. Washington is attributed to have said: “I have learned that success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles overcome while trying to succeed.”.
James Dyson worked for 15 years and made 5,126 prototypes of his cleaner that failed before he made one that worked. The light bulb was invented by Albert Edison who failed many times before succeeding.
Edison said: “I have not failed 10,000 times. I have not failed once. I have succeeded in proving that those 10,000 ways will not work. When I have eliminated the ways that will not work, I will find the way that will work.”, and he did.
Richard Branson may be mightily successful enterpreneur, but he has also had some spectacular failures (who ever drinks Virgin Cola, wears Virgin makeup or got married as a Virgin bride?)
Everyone one of us learned to walk by falling over and getting up again, and again and again until at last we could take one step, then the next. We didn't think twice about getting up, we didn't consider quitting because we had such a powerful urge to succeed.
"Our greatest glory is not in never falling but in rising every time we fall." - ~ Confucius
Failure is feedback. It lets us know when we need to dig in and try harder, when we need to do something differently or when we need to ask for help.
Failure also let's us know what we're not good at. I got 4% in one physics test when I was studying it for O' level, and although I went on to scrape a C grade, it was powerful feedback that physics really wasn't my thing.
We only develop resilience when we step outside our comfort zone; when we risk getting it wrong, failing and falling flat on our face. It is only when we risk being the first to say 'I love you' that we find out how the other person feels in return. It is only when we say 'I'll take the lead on this' that we learn how to be a better leader. It is only when we set out for that run and end up walking that we run one step further each time.
"Only those who dare to fail greatly can achieve greatly." - ~ Robert F. Kennedy
So make sure you're failing enough in your life, because daring to take a risk that could end in failure is what leads to resilience and resilience is what leads to success.