"…for wisdom is more precious than rubies, and nothing you desire can compare with her." (Proverbs 8:11)
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Falling Forward: Why Failure Is Your Friend

Have you ever watched a baby learning to walk? It is both a magical and comical thing to behold. Three tentative steps and then…face plant. But that’s cool. More often than not, the baby will be stunned but unphased. He’ll stand back up and try again. Maybe he’ll take five steps this time–gaining momentum–and then land squarely on his butt.

We watch, we chuckle, and we don’t panic. Instead, we look on in joyful anticipation. We know that eventually, the child will get it. He’ll figure out how to balance and propel himself forward, his muscles will get stronger, and he will be walking. We don’t try to catch the baby every time it topples over. We don’t carry the child from place to place until it’s a teenager. We let the child learn. Failure is learning.

As adults, we have to give ourselves permission to fail. Failure is how we learn what NOT to do, so we can focus on what we SHOULD do, until ultimately, we achieve success. Trying to learn to cook? You’re going to botch a few recipes before you make a stellar meal. Trying to start a business? You’re going to make some bad choices before you get all the right people and systems in place. Are you on the cusp of a new relationship? You are learning to walk in a new environment, with different dynamics. Odds are, you’re going to fall on your butt at least once. And that’s okay.

Failure is part of life, it’s part of learning, and failure can be your friend when you embrace it as a tool for growth and self improvement. Instead of feeling embarrassed or ashamed when you fail, focus on what you learned, and what you can do better next time. Instead of surrounding yourself with people who mock your efforts or shame you when you fall, be with the ones who cheer you on and encourage your growth.

The process works the same for little things and for big ones. Did you try to back up your smartphone and accidentally erase all your apps? Take a deep breath and regroup. It’s not the end of the world. You’re not stupid. You just need to make sure you research the proper steps next time so it doesn’t happen again.

Did you have a conflict with your spouse or a coworker that didn’t end well? The conversation may have failed, but the relationship doesn’t have to. Think about what you could have done differently to achieve a different outcome. Then, just like that baby after a face plant, stand up, brush yourself off, and try again with a heart full of enthusiasm and joy.