Falling on your face, screwing up or otherwise not handling something well is hard on the ego. It feels terrible when things don't go the way you want, or when a relationship or situation spoils because of your own missteps. Even so, the most successful people have a long list of failures. That's according to JR Ridinger, cofounder, chairman and CEO of Market America/SHOP.COM, a multibillion dollar global ecommerce company. Here are his words on the upsides of failing.
1. Failure is an opportunity to learn.
When you fail at something, you're ultimately left with two choices: You can succumb to your doubts and fears or you can choose to learn from the experience. By choosing to learn, you can transform your failure into an opportunity to reflect and grow at the very least. I always seek to find the positives in a negative situation. It enables me to come out wiser and more adept at overcoming future challenges.
2. Failure is the universe daring you to evolve.
It's a challenge that can crush you or become your greatest opportunity to grow. Nearly all of my personal growth has taken place outside of my comfort zone. Failure provides the ultimate setting for this and has helped me to decide what I do not want to do.
3. Failure fuels success.
Steve Jobs was fired from Apple, the company he built with his bare hands. Michael Jordan got cut from his high school basketball team. Albert Einstein flunked out of high school. Ironic? Failure has a funny way of lighting a fire that may never otherwise burn.
4. Failure exposes your weaknesses.
Everyone has weaknesses, but with self reflection they can be turned into strengths. Being honest with yourself is the first major step that you can take towards personal evolution.
5. Failure forges greatness.
The failures that we all experience in life are what allows us to appreciate our successes. Failure provides context for even the most picture-perfect life. You really can't know and understand success without first having failed--often many, many times.
6. Failure reminds you why it's so important to pay it forward.
If you're down in the dumps, help someone else out. There's no feeling on earth more genuinely rewarding than helping others. The more people in need who you help, the more people who will be there for you in your time of need. When you pay it forward, you invest in a better world for all.