Learn From Your Failures

success failure

As the saying goes “you learn more from your failures then you do from your successes”.  I’ll tell you something though – I really hate learning from failure but in the long term it makes you a better student and ultimately a better person.

Why is that?  Why does it take failure for us to truly learn a lesson we need to know?

This is my take on this:

  1. Success can breed over-confidence.  Trust me, over-confidence can be really, really bad.  It tempts us into not checking things, not following procedures and assuming things that may not actually be true.  I once assumed the payment details of a payee were correct (and they weren’t) and it potentially could’ve cost me my job and possibly my career.  Fortunately, the problem was solved but the lesson was DON’T ASSUME just because it was right the last one hundred times that the same is going to be true this time.  Be diligent, always..
  2. Success can hide errors.  You can think all your accounts and reporting are correct because there are no glaring errors but you miss the errors that aren’t so obvious.  Worse than that, ongoing success can hide a continual error.  If you continually record depreciation at $2,000 but it should be $4,000 then if it always $2,000 you think you are correct all the time.  So, being wrong is good because it forces you to review and evaluate your accounts rather than assuming because it was the same as last month that you are correct this month.
  3. Success limits your learning.  The greatest learnings and challenges I’ve had during my career have been during periods when I have failed or made a mistake, the accounting or computer system has failed or the business was failing.  When everything is going well there is little to challenge us and we can lose our “edge” and become stale in our problem solving abilities and our resilience and determination to deal with problems.

Failure should never be sought but it should be looked upon as a challenge – how can I fix this problem but more importantly,  how can I do better next time.  Now that exams are over don’t live in failure because even if you do, there is always something you can learn that can benefit you in your studies and in your career.

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