Learning Big from Bad Experiences

I’m so disheartened when I hear people say “Oh we tried that it and didn’t work.” The end. Really?  Ok so you tried that and it didn’t work. And …. then what did you do?  When something doesn’t work ask yourself: Can we tweak what we tried? Let’s find someone that has been successful doing what we want and ask what could we try next? Or you can try something completely different? Don’t give up!  When something doesn’t go as well as planned or in a way that reaped the rewards you’d hoped for, ask yourself “What did we learn? What can we do differently? What’s next?”

Thomas Edison tried two thousand different materials in search of a filament for the light bulb. When none worked satisfactorily, his assistant complained, “All our work is in vain. We have learned nothing.” Edison replied very confidently, “Oh, we have come a long way and we have learned a lot. We know that there are two thousand elements which we cannot use to make a good light bulb.”

I’m sure it was disappointing for him and I’m pretty sure he didn’t like it, but he continued trying.

“Every problem introduces a person to themselves.” John McDonnell.  How we respond to painful experiences is tied directly to our success.  Each time we make a mistake we not only learn something about the situation but about ourselves.  It makes us take a look at who we are, where we are, and where we want to go.

In John Maxwell’s’ book The 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth, Law 8, The Law of Pain, he talks about how to turn your pain into gain:

  1. Choose a positive life stance: Have a happy, can-do attitude. This includes your assumptions and expectations about yourself, other people, and the world in general.
  2. Embrace and develop your creativity: There was a chicken farmer whose land flooded every spring.  He didn’t want to move and give up his farm. After the worst spring ever, the flooding was terrible and he struggled to move his chickens to higher ground, he said “I give up, I’ve had it. I’ll have to find another farm, but I can’t sell this one. I don’t know what to do?”  His wife said, “Buy ducks.”
  3. Embrace the value of bad experiences: Inventor Charles F. Kettering, head of GM said once “You will never stub your toe standing still. The faster you go, the more chance of you stubbing your toe, but the more chance you have of getting someplace.
  4. Make good changes after learning from bad experiences: Those teachable moments are what the value of The Law of Pain is about.  A bend in the road is not the end of the road unless you fail to make a turn.
  5. Take responsibility for your life: In the book Winning Life’s Toughest Battles, Frederic Flach and Julius Segal state the people that overcome bad experiences avoid the label of “victim” and take responsibility for moving forward.”  There is but one slight step from “why me” to “woe is me” – and it’s a slippery one.

Good wishes for a making a mistake this week,

Irmadene ~

Photo by seabass creatives on Unsplash



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