A TED Talk A Day, Day 10: An interesting, if slightly dry, talk about the difference how people who succeed view failure/success differently. I felt like there were some real gems here but unfortunately the speaker’s style left me wondering how I can actually practice this IRL, because logical understanding is one thing, but being able these values takes work.

  1. Throughout history humans have held firmly to beliefs that later turned out to be wrong. The people who succeeded also had to encounter these moments of realisation and/or failure, but what made them different is that they took advantage of these moments.
  2. All these people share one thing: they are the main character in their own stories. They are the heroes in their own story, overcoming obstacles and going on to succeed.
  3. The frameworks, patterns and process behind those who stray from social norms and become criminals, and those who break out to succeed in changing the world, are almost the same. They have similar perceptions of failure.
  4. People who think failure is bad, think it is absolute, and that failure in one area means they will be failures in all areas. They are sure that they are not capable of anything great. Failure is seen as universal and relentless, and which they cannot escape.
    1. This leads them to fear and avoid failure.
    2. They also use failure as an excuse not to try.
  5. Successful people also deal with failure, but to them it is part of the trip. Failure is seen as relative, unique to a particular situation and time.
    1. They see that failure concerns them and them only; they do not try to blame others.
    2. They don’t deny failure or their responsibility in it. Instead they use it to go beyond and succeed.
    3. So failure, to them, is adjustable. They can use today’s failure to build tomorrow’s success.
  6. “If you don’t learn to fail, you fail to learn.” – Tal Ben-Shahar
  7. Eventually failure is fuel for successful people — it drives and excites them.
  8. How do we change?
    1. Raise our standards: have high expectations of ourselves.
    2. Rethink our perception of failure: “Failures are not absolute; they are are relative. They are not permanent; they are temporary. They are not opposed to success; they are entirely part of it.”
    3. Take care of resources: We can all be the main character in our stories. (This point wasn’t presented clearly)
  9. They question is not whether we will succeed or failure, but if we will stick around long enough to turn our failures into success. Life is less about what happens to us but what we do about what happens to us.

Suggested action step: When I encounter failure or challenges, I will ask myself how I can adjust and proceed. What in the situation is causing the failure?