The Benefits of Failure

Published on 27 April 2010 by Kelly Riggs in Job Search, Video

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The benefits of failure??

Sure. In fact, my question is why would you look at failure in any way other than from the positive side? The alternative is to wallow in self-pity. Blame the economy. Descend into depression. Sit on the couch, watch bad reality TV shows, and put on forty pounds.

The truth is failure is a necessary part of life. Failure can be a tremendous teacher. It is, as they say, all in the way you look at it. Failure can be viewed as a commentary on your personal value, or it can become a building block in your character. Failure can be viewed as a reason why you don’t deserve to succeed, or it can become a stepping stone in your path to success. Failure can cause you to give up, or it can be an indicator of what didn’t work this time.

This short video is a classic – an accounting of several famous people who overcame potentially crippling setbacks:

“If you’ve never failed, you’ve never lived.” As an active job searcher, you need to understand that savvy employers look for failure in your background. They don’t ask those classic interview questions, “What was your biggest failure?” or “What is your biggest weakness?” just so you can spout some glib, prepackaged, seminar-influenced answer. They ask because they are often looking for employees with courage and initiative, and they realize that those people fail. The question is not whether or not you have failed, the question is how do you deal with it and did you learn anything valuable?

If you have interviewed twenty times and still don’t have a job offer, don’t blame anyone. Companies are not looking for employees who point fingers; they are looking for employees who solve problems. Sit down and figure out where you need to improve. Get professional help (you can find a career coach here at 360workforce.net). Make changes.

The main thing is to get moving. The late, great Chicago Bear’s running back, Walter Payton, rushed for over nine miles of yardage in his NFL career. When he retired, he was the game’s career rushing leader, having carried the ball 3,838 times and averaged 4.6 yards every time his number was called. This may sound simplistic, but it is nonetheless true – Payton was knocked down 3,838 times, usually by more than one 300-pound behemoth, meaning that he also got back up 3,838 times. In fact, it is fair to say that Walter Payton is in the Pro Football Hall of Fame today, not because he carried the ball 3,838 times, but because he got back up 3,838 times.

Choose to see failure or adversity as a teacher, not as an event. Get back up, and get back in the game.

One Response to “The Benefits of Failure”

  1. [...] that getting fired ultimately payed huge dividends in terms of his current success. As we discussed previously, failure can be very instructive – even essential to long-term [...]