I recently heard this dilemma on the radio and thought I would pose it to all of you. The radio host had a MBA professor call in and ask what question could be asked to get individuals to think about the type of person that they were. Not a question about what the student liked or wanted, but what type of individual they were at their core.
Here it is: You are a recent college grad who has been out of school for 6 months. For the last 5, you have been working for a real estate development firm. You are currently leading the development of a railroad track that a partner at your firm described as “the most important project of the year.” As you develop the project, you learn that the railroad track is scheduled to go straight through a low income housing project that houses 200 families. If the project goes as planned, these families will all be displaced with very little to no assistance. While you realize this negative aspect, you and your firm both stand to profit a few million dollars.
What are the different aspects of this problem? What are the possible solutions? What would you choose to do?
Reading this post got me thinking about failure and how it has affected those that experience it. Everyone fails at something but their reaction to failure is how the population is separated into two distinct categories. The first category is reserved for the individuals who say “Well that didn’t work out, so I will go back to doing what I was doing before” and never builds the courage to attempt anything risky again. The second category contains those individuals who are either too stubborn, too determined, or too busy to notice or accept failure.
This second category is where success awaits. The person who takes failure as an insult and uses it as motivation to become even more determined, is the same person that ends up surpassing all expectations. The lessons learned in failure, whether big or small, are something that can not be taught in a classroom, but are life-changing when learned through personal experience. Dare to fail, try to fail, but most of all expect to fail. I recently heard this quote and continue to revisit it: “If you don’t fail, then you haven’t tried hard enough!”
What is a failure that you have experienced? How did you learn from it? Do you still use the lessons that you learned?