Failures Importance is a part of life it is where we learn our biggest lessons. But when does failure become hazardous to you as a person?
When I was younger I was always told that winning was everything, “first place or no place” (Kind of like Rick Bobby). The thrill of winning and being seen for my accomplishments became my focus. At the same time it became toxic. Never did I want to fail because I felt I would be seen as less of a human if I did. I visualized people’s faces and their reactions to my failed result and that did not sit well with me. It consumed my entire outlook on life. In some ways you need this to achieve, but unless you balance your thoughts of inadequacy with lessons, it will become toxic.
My First Mission
The first mission I ever went on with my platoon I was in charge of the communication, camera equipment, and sending Intel back to the boss man. I was excited and wanted to make an impression in the platoon so I would be asked to do more. I got all set up and ready to go, triple checked my gear just to make sure. Finally, we launched and we got on target we started to break out the photo equipment to gather information. I quickly realized I had forgotten the memory card for the camera and had no way of collecting information. After all this I had forgotten one of the single most important pieces of equipment, the mission depended on it. I had failed!! I told my chief what had happened while still on target, you could imagine his anger. But what this did was drive me to improvise a solution. I remember after I got the stare of death from my chief that I had brought a USB cable just in case. I could hook the USB up to the computer and use the computer as a big memory card. We got what we needed and moved on. Success. Kind of.
The Power of Failure
This experience set me up for the rest of my career; I never forgot anything after that. And I drove myself to learn new and innovative ways to handle problems. Failure, as I said, is a natural part of life, you have to be willing to fail to achieve. If you are willing you will do great things, but when you do fail you can’t let it bring you down. What I do is take my failures apart. Analyze the before, during, and after.
Before: Well I checked my gear and the camera, but I assumed the card was in place without checking (Big Whoops).
During: I realized I had no card so I had to improvise luckily successfully.
After: We got what we needed to continue, and I learned to never assume as well as expand my gear knowledge. Taking these lessons forward helped me become a sought-after asset of the SEAL Teams. I was asked to do more because I drove myself from these failures.
Tieing It All Together
Remember if you look at these experiences and all you see is failure try and break the experience down. What failure can teach you is something you never thought was there. The Failures are meant to build you up for the next stage in life not to destroy you. Ultimately Failure is not an option. Be willing to learn from each experience whether successful or not. There is a silver lining in any dark unknown space; it’s up to you to realize it before it is too late.
Take a different angle now by looking at a past failure and finding the success, build the mental conditioning now.