How to be Successful: 3 Ways Failure Helps You Reach Your GoalsLifestyle The List
A major shift in perception of failure is underway. The failure is not an option attitude of the nineties is now getting replaced with a new expression: there is no success without failure. We spoke with Dr. Anders Ericsson, author of Peak: Secrets of the Science of Expertise, who showed us three keys to failing spectacularly.
1. Don’t Call it Failure
First up, don’t call your disappointments failures. "I don't like the word 'failure', because it sort of implies something that you really can't change,” explains Dr. Ericsson. He believes the power of words can either discourage or motivate. "If you interpret the failure as reflecting your inability to achieve what you want to do, then obviously that's going to be really bad." So what should we call failure instead? Dr. Ericsson says consider failures as opportunities to diagnosis what you should be doing differently. Vocabulary matters, folks!
2. Fail with a Teacher
The best way to track improvement is to fail with a teacher, so that you can learn from your failures. "People are able to improve and change if they're getting the right kind of advice and support from teachers,” shares Dr. Ericsson. “The teacher can actually tell you what it is that you need to be doing differently." In order words, teachers can help assess your current level, and give you the tools to improve. "Ideally, the teacher should give you a path of all sorts of intermediate steps that will ultimately lead to the performance that you want,” continues Dr. Ericsson. Teachers also create a safe space to fail. We guess you can call them your failsafe!
3. Compare Yourself to Others
And finally – compare yourself to others so you can use their stories as inspiration. Dr. Ericsson explains in further detail: “[Look to] people who started out at the same level that you're currently at; and [consider how] they progressed and, what it really took for them to change; and get to the point that you are aspiring to."
Having a buddy can help, too. “Finding individuals similar to yourself, who are exploring similar goals is often very motivating,” notes Dr. Ericsson. “Compare and share your enjoyment about your gradual progress.” Just be careful not to compare yourself unfairly he warns. “On television you really see performers performing at a level that seems almost incomprehensible. But what you don't see [are the] thousands of hours over years that that individual engaged in training to gradually get to this performance." Well said, doc!
Welp, it turns out there really is no success without failure.
Bonus Video: Were You Born to be Successful?
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