23rd April 2015

Fail fast

Team Massive Result’s Thursday’s Thoughts

Fail fast

I know that I talk about success and I am in the business of success and of helping people be successful more often and more quickly but it would be naive and dishonest to pretend or even imply that failure didn’t exist. Failure is one of the best and most sure fire ways to learn. Soichiro Honda once said “To me success can only be achieved through repeated failure and introspection. In fact, success represents 1% of your work that results from the 99% that is called failure.” if we are not failing, we are not trying hard enough. Fear of failure is guaranteed to cause us to not try, to not experiment, to not risk and therefore to become stuck.

When we learnt to walk we did so by falling down, by failing, but we didn’t give up. We learnt from our failures and eventually learnt to walk. It is the way of the world. Failing is not fatal but failing to learn from our failures might prove to be.

So a better strategy than trying to avoid failure might be to decide to fail fast and learn fast. Andrew Hodgson said to “Plan for success and deal with failure”. Part of dealing with failure is to learn from it. Life has a cruel habit of teaching us the lessons that we need to learn. If we fail to learn those lessons then it tends to keep teaching us until we do learn. If we can learn to fail faster so that we can learn faster that surely has to be a good thing.

It is interesting that Mr Honda should talk about repeated failure and introspection. It is introspection that turns experience into insight, failure to spend sufficient time looking inwards at the lessons that our failures are trying to teach us jeopardises our chances of learning from them.

Fail fast and learn fast to succeed fast.

It seems like a good formula.