October 22. “Failure is success if we learn from it.” (Malcolm Forbes)
Many of the quotes recently have been about failure and success. Today’s is a neat summary of some of my thoughts on the subject.
It is a given in life that we will not always succeed at everything we attempt. In fact, life would be somewhat chaotic if everyone succeeded at everything. It might be fun for a while to be that person who always succeeds, but eventually even that would become boring. Worse, it would be limiting.
Some years ago I read an article (or perhaps it was a TV special), about an engineering failure. I don’t remember all the details, and can’t even tell you what in particular failed, but I do remember this one part of the story. In the story the person who was explaining said that there was a gauge that was to measure some particular event. The gauge had a limit to how high it would measure. The normal range of operation was well represented, but it couldn’t measure extremes. At it happened, some extreme event had happened momentarily that pinned the needle on the gauge. The operators didn’t think much of it, and they really had no idea how high it had gone, because the gauge had been pinned.
As it turns out the event was so extreme that severe damage was done. Later, when the system failed, that event was determined to be the cause. And the fact that the gauge hadn’t measured it well, was a contributing factor.
To me, that gave me a lesson on life. If I measure myself, and my success with a gauge that is limited, then I never really know how high I can go. If the instrument only goes to 10, and that is 2 above what most people do, then how do I know if I hit a 10, or a 20, or 100? In life we cannot measure ourselves with a faulty gauge.
When I fail, it helps me set the limits of the gauge. When I try and exceed what others might expect, but fall short of my own goal, then I have learned something. The gauge of my success tells me a tale, and I can gain lessons from the experience.
Failure, then does become success because I have learned. I have, in fact, calibrated my success gauge.
Today my reflection is on getting past my frustrations with failure, and seeing my way to the lessons that breed success.