Failing Forward: Turning Mistakes into Stepping Stones for Success by John C. Maxwell

Category: The Human Mind

(18 von 100)

Why: I need this to change my attitude about the past.
Goal: live better with failures.

Action: Give Yourself a Fair Quota to Fail.

3 Key Concepts

  1. Inaction brings more fear.
  2. Expect to succeed on the first try is not being realistic.
  3. Focus on helping others to persevere.


Failing is uncomfortable. No one would want to fail. Many despise it enough to give it up without even trying. John showed how anything meaningful in life is accompanied by failures. It is unavoidable! Everyone must fail in order to get somewhere. No exception.

Inaction brings more fear.

Fear→Inaction→Inexperience→Inability→more Fear

This reminds me of my first dance lesson years ago. My teacher insisted that I look stupid that night, rather than going home. A moment later, I found myself on the dance floor full of people. I did not hear a single beat of the music. I did not look at the girl. And mostly just doing basic steps. Boy, how much I was sweating and trembling from fear. Yes, it was embarrassing.

Boat is meant to be taken off the shore.
The boat is meant to be taken off the shore.

Fast forward, because my teacher did not let me go home after the first lesson that night. I can now dance into dancing. A skill every dancer acquired along the way. Below is some life truth to keep in mind about being human.

Rules for Being Human
Rule#1 You will learn lessons.
Rule#2 There are no mistakes – only lessons.
Rule#3 A lesson is repeated until it is learned.
Rule#4 If you don’t learn easy lessons, they get harder.
Rule#5 You’ll know you’ve learned it when your action change.

John C. Maxwell

Be realistic. Expecting yourself to get it right all the time is not only impossible, but it is also irrational. The problem is that we do not look at achieving our goal objectively enough.

Fix: Give yourself a quota, and try to beat it before you complete the task.

Even on average, entrepreneurs fail 3.8 times before they finally make it in business. If you are about to start your business journey, get your attitude in the right place!

All my life I’ve wanted people to feel like they were better for knowing me.

Doris Bowen

Focus on others. Now you see why it makes sense for us to fail, and fail often. The important thing left to learn is how to stick with it till the end. The hardest part of any meaningful pursuit. John suggested “Helping others”. Because feeling pity and focusing on yourself will not get you far from your own mistakes. Here is how John thinks we should go about it.

  • Think of others first: be conscious whether you put others before yourself.
  • Find out their value: listen, ask, or observe how they spend time and money.
  • Meet their needs with all you can and expect nothing in returns.
  • Tip: Be an extra-mile person, go over board to help others.
    Be my mom, she is the most selfless person I have yet met.

You can get everything in life you want, if you help enough other people to get what they want.

Zig Ziglar

Lastly, prevent yourself from quitting. By reading stories of people who tried, failed, and kept going. Keep in mind, the only difference between a little shot and a big shot is that a big shot kept shooting. Stand your ground, effort pays off in full only when a person refuses to quit.

Failure is also a mark of success you’ve worked for. When a pole-vaulter finally misses, it shows how far he’s come. That failure becomes his next starting point.

Dave Anderson

Goal check: I learned how to fail gracefully and take responsibility in moving forward.

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Bonus: There are 2 kinds of learning;
Experience, which is learned from your own mistakes.
Wisdom, which is learned from others’ mistakes.
Seek wisdom from others who have failed before you. Be smart with your adventures.

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