The joys of exploring and occasionally failing

Column by Glenn Bott
Posted 12/5/18

Most of us have been raised to move forward cautiously, make intelligent decisions, and not fail. Until recently, failure had a nasty taste to it — it wasn’t held in high regard. Yet in our …

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The joys of exploring and occasionally failing

Posted

Most of us have been raised to move forward cautiously, make intelligent decisions, and not fail. Until recently, failure had a nasty taste to it — it wasn’t held in high regard. Yet in our current society, those who repeatedly fail are those who ultimately succeed. Failure is what counts – it’s picking yourself up, learning from your mistakes, and moving forward more enlightened, smarter, and with renewed resolve.

Being an engineer, I was taught to learn as much as possible prior to venturing forth on a new endeavor. It was OK to fail, but fail in new ways. There’s no need to start from scratch on everything. This is what Google is for — learn from the previous efforts of others.

At least this is what I used to think.

In today’s rapidly progressing society, you may be the first to try your concept. You don’t have anyone else to model after or learn from. Your product or idea can be totally new — think of the boys at Google or Facebook. What’s out there now may have no direct bearing on your idea. The details and specifics are where the fun, real excitement, and education are. No one has done what you’re about to do.

This is a lot like learning to walk. The only way to do it is to repeatedly fail. You can learn a certain amount from watching grown-ups walk, but you can’t learn how to do it for yourself. You have to experience it on your own.

So you take a few steps and fall.

You get back up and take a few more steps.

And fall again.

There is never any disappointment in any of this. It’s all part of the adventure and part of being human. I submit that by adopting this attitude in your life you will have a lot of fun and ultimately enjoy success.

I am convinced life truly is all about the journey — it is a marathon, not a sprint. The journey is more important than the destination. The fun is in the walk, the adventure of the journey. The joy of having an inquisitive mind and trying different approaches until you ultimately achieve your desired results. Moving forward with a sense of exploration will add depth to your life and make it a lot more fun.

Take time as an example. When we’re kids, there’s an abundance of time so we explore, create, and play with what to do with all of this time. As we mature, time becomes a precious commodity and we begin to ration it, control it, and we lose our creativity and fun. It loses its sense of abundance. The result is that we lose our playful and creative nature. We become more regimented and begin to conform to societal standards.

Is this a good thing? I don’t know. I do know that people with an attitude of exploration and having fun are very creative and happy. It’s up to each of us to decide how we want to live our lives and what is important to us.

Glenn Bott of Arvada speaks and coaches on positivity, innovation, and resiliency. He shares the proven techniques he used to successfully reinvent himself after recovering from a severe and life-threatening brain injury.

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