Fail Forward

A 3-year old boy was trying to remove a bottle of milk from the refrigerator when he lost his grip on the slippery bottle and it fell, spilling its contents all over the kitchen floor—a veritable sea of milk!

When his mother came into the kitchen, instead of yelling at him, or giving him a lecture, or punishing him, said, "Robert, what a great and wonderful mess you have made! I have rarely seen such a huge puddle of milk. Well, the damage has already been done. Would you like to get down and play in the milk for a few minutes before we clean it up?"

Indeed, he did. After a few minutes, his mother said, "You know, Robert, whenever you make a mess like this, eventually you have to clean it up and restore everything to its proper order. So, how would you like to do that? We could use a sponge, a towel, or a mop. Which one do you prefer?" He chose the sponge and together they cleaned up the spilled milk.

His mother then said, "You know, what we have here is a failed experiment in how to effectively carry a big milk bottle with two tiny hands. Let’s go out in the back yard and fill the bottle with water and see if you can discover a way to carry it without dropping it." The little boy learned that if he grasped the bottle at the top near the lip with both hands, he could carry it without dropping it. What a wonderful lesson! 

Don't be afraid of your kids or team members making mistakes. Instead, understand that mistakes were just opportunities to learning something new . Even if the experiment "doesn’t work," we usually learn something valuable from it and grow.

People don’t fail forward because they are used to easy way out and want easy success in whatever they undertake. Thus, when things become hard and they face failure, they give it up and never move forward. The question is not if you will have problems, but how you are going to deal with them.

If you haven’t failed at anything, it means you haven’t really taken a risk at anything. Failures are only as bad as you perceive them to be. Life is much better when you live, and try, and fail. 

 The more you do, the more you fail. The more you fail, the more you learn. The more you learn, the better you get.

 Fail Forward!


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