An article titled triggered this post: “Past Failure Is No Excuse for Present Inaction“. The end of the year is time for reflection, time to think about what has happened in the past year and compare it to what you wanted to do in the past year. For many people, they are content with what has happened but for some, there is a feeling of melancholy, a fear of failure. Events have not lived up to expectations, or worse, attempts to change were rebuffed or outright rejected.
Alan Garner, the author of Conversationally Speaking talks about the self-fulfilling prophecy and how the results of the past influence your actions of the present. If you’ve failed once, you’ll fail again. At least, that is what your mind says to you.
That idea, however, fails to understand that failure is a point in time event. The world around us shifts and changes daily and the set of circumstances that lead to you failing before may not even be in play anymore. This is particularly true in the organizational setting where you may have tried to make a change but it just didn’t take, it just didn’t happen.
That doesn’t have to be the case in the present or in the future. Organizations change, they shift and move under pressures both external and internal. Being able to step back, evaluate why something failed and then try again, that is the sign of patience and dedication. If you tried to make a change but was blocked because of an internal policy, look at getting the policy changed prior to making the change. Look at the obstacles in your way and work towards removing those obstacles.
The key thing in all of this is learning from your failures. Don’t just sit there, bemoaning your bad luck, work towards change. Make an effort to educate people on the change you want to make. Build up the momentum slowly, get people slowly moving in your direction, after you have removed the last obstacles. Will you succeed? Maybe, but the point is that every attempt should be thought of as a learning exercise. If you fail, you learned what to fix next time. If you succeed, you learned what worked … this time.
So, while you sit in your comfy chair, drinking your hot apple cider and reminiscing about the past year, don’t think of your unfulfilled resolutions or unmet goals as failures, think of them as successful experiments. You know what not to do next time.