The lovely little rejection note from TED got me thinking on my drive into the office.
Over the last six months, I have accumulated quite an impressive little pile of failures. One or two even qualifies as epic, I believe. They span different parts of my life in nice, balanced way
Kind of impressive, really.
I've also had a couple of real scores, real successes.
Of course, one never knows what has happened until months or years down the line: the failure that cut deep at the time could turn out to be the most powerful stroke of good luck, and the shining success might be revealed to have a flimsy, insubstantial core.
You have to sit with a thing for awhile to really know what it means for your life.
So I'll have to watch carefully to get a real sense of whether my successes were truly fortunate, and whether my failures were actually missed opportunities.
I do believe that failures are a necessary part of birthing a success. The first step in learning how to do something is to do it badly, partially, imperfectly.
There is no cure for this.
Unless you are an unconscious competent, with an unacknowledged, pre-existing skill set, you learn like everyone else: by trial and error. And error is a necessary part of that equation.
So I am looking at my impressive pile of failures, wondering if I should keep an on-my-way list, a list of failures to roll my eyes over when I need proof that I am actually in the process of succeeding at something.
It would be even better if I kept a running evaluation of what I learned from each one, and what I will do differently next time. I could track this all the way from selecting opportunities and qualifying candidates through laying the foundation and building solid personal and professional structures from which to launch my dreams.
Not a bad idea.
I heard a quote once that really caught my ear. It was a piece of advice from someone who said something like, "If I had to do it all over again, I would fail faster, so I could get on to the successes sooner."
I like that.
Maybe I can learn to fail faster and more efficiently, causing less and less harm and enduring less and less pain as I go, until I figure out exactly how to build the successes I want.
And I do believe a new journal has now been born: the failure journal, from which I will learn how to succeed at the things I want to do, and do well.