Are you familiar with the “fail faster” philosophy? I was not until I came across the topic in my technology community. It is a philosophy that says you are more successful when you go outside of your box and try new things without worrying about failing. Integral to this way of thinking is being able to fail in an efficient manner and learning from the experiences of your failure.
This philosophy is commonly found in the technology arena. Apple is a prime example of a company putting themselves out there with innovative products like the iPod and iPad. Both products required the innovators to think outside of the box and visualize a non-existent product. They certainly had to work though countless failed designs before arriving at the finished product. The fail fast attitude has paid off well in their sales and to their investors.
It is a great concept for companies looking to deliver fast innovative innovation. The results can be dramatic. That got me thinking that this is a concept I should embrace in my personal life. The risk is that it becomes a much more personal thing when I am the sole risk taker with the most to lose if I fail. At the same time, I have the most to gain if I succeed.
Honesty. Fail fast can only succeed when I am honest with myself and admit failure. Honesty needs to be added to the fail fast mix. Honesty edges me on to learn from my failure. Remember a key point in this philosophy is failing in a way that efficiently turns the failure into a lesson. Honesty takes away the wasted time and energy of making excuses and redefining success.
Defining failure. I dive into new experiences with my head focused on success. Moving forward is about dark recesses of defining failure. Fail fast requires a change in my thought process to clearly define failure and live with that definition. It is not a pleasant thing. Knowing the true meaning of failure is just as important that knowing the true meaning of success.
As I planned my 2013 wellness vision, I found myself thinking about stretching my limits. In the past four years, I changed my life considerably to being an active and healthier person. At the same time, I found myself in too comfortable of a place. That led me to take the plunge and challenged myself to run a half marathon, which is way outside of my current comfort zone. I am also turning up my cycling several notches for the year.
Failing faster is an integral piece of my success. I expect some failed attempts as I reach for that half marathon. By employing the fail faster thought process, I am leveraging the failures to drive me further ahead. It is critical to understand what failure means and acknowledge that it is not bad but instead a learning experience that moves me forward. 2013 is a year when I need to have a firm grasp on understanding failure so that I can be the success I envisioned.
Life begins at the end of your comfort zone — Neale Donald Walsch, American Author