Never trust anyone that doesn’t fail. Dupe them into buying your next lottery ticket, absolutely, but trust? No chance. One of my favourite questions when conducting interviews is asking about challenges and failures, identifying within a person their own perceptions of failure and most importantly, what they did about it. I’ve only ever had one interviewee that couldn’t name their weaknesses or failures, and I was silly enough override my doubts and hire them. They were escorted from the building within a few months.
Failure is often seen as a negative, yet it’s the fuel that drives us on to try again, to make a better product, to run faster, to pass the exam. For each of those world-class athletes, Nobel-laureates and pop-idols, they only taste success by failing a thousand times. For Colonel Sanders this was literally true, failing time and time again until a restaurant bought his receipt for making KFC. Edison was the same with the lightbulb, constructing three thousand different theories. It’s the reaction to the failure that defines our character. Again, this is summed up perfectly by Walter S. Mallory:
Seneca believed that anger and frustration came from our own perception of how something should work, how something should turn out, and it not meeting our expectations. If instead we considered all possible outcomes, not just what we hoped would happen, we can prepare ourselves for our reaction to the inevitable. If it all turns out right, then it’s Caramel McFlurry’s and banoffee pie for everyone!
And yet you cannot know every possible outcome. Sometimes you just don’t know (or want to know) what will happen. You cannot even fathom all the possibilities ahead of you. Is it daunting? Not at all, it’s exciting! You don’t need to know everything; you just need to try. I constantly get asked when I travel where I’m staying, what I’m doing, a detailed view of my itinerary. The reaction is mostly the same: I have no idea. I usually book the first two nights, have an inclination of where to go, and then let the rest work itself out. It usually does, one way or another.
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