Never Lose Again
I never lose, I either win or learnNelson Mandela - Former President of South Africa
“I never lose”; this is powerful… and even more powerful is the meaning behind win or learn! Imagine living life knowing that you truly don’t ever lose! As I look back at life, having known this phrase, I surely would have done a few things differently.
What holds most people back from their next big invention, break through, writing a book, pursuing a singing career, or following their dreams is the fear of failure. What if society looked at failure differently; what if it was even praised? Some of the greatest breakthroughs of our time were perceived as failures before they were successes.
This past week, we held Roma’s Annual Leadership Conference in Toronto. Our conference is inspired by our Core Value #10: Love Learning and Pursue Growth and Development. This years conference highlighted the theme of wins, misses and doing things differently. We took deep dives into our wins, but more importantly, we focused on where we missed (failed) and what we would do differently next time (learn).
Throughout our conference, we examined famous so called failures such as:
- Alexander Flemings failed petri dish experiment which led to the creation of Penicillin.
- Ruth Wakefield’s failed attempt to make chocolate cookies created the iconic Chocolate Chip Cookie.
- Percy Spencer noticed that microwaves from an active radar melted his candy car in his pocket, leading to the creation of the microwave oven.
- Spencer Silver set out to create a super strong adhesive. His attempt failed but instead created a low tack reusable pressure adhesive. This failure later paved the way for the invention of the posted note.
- George de Mestral was hiking in the wilderness. He noticed tiny burs were stuck on his paints and in his dogs hair. Under scrutiny of the microscope, he observed the hook engaging the loops in the fabric. He later replicated mother nature and called it Velcro.
Its important to trust that no matter what happens in life, you are always winning! I know first hand that this is often sometimes easier said than done, but once you take on this thinking, you will be unstoppable! Fail fast, Fail often; you many have heard this before, and its totally right! Some of the best things that ever happened to me were my failures. I remember being ridiculed for failing a test in high school, only later to learn that I was going to have to do things differently. The next time, I was actually going to study my butt off.
In an effort to see things differently, I encourage you to watch the Steve Jobs Commencement Speech on connecting the dots.
Believing you will either win or learn takes courage, and more importantly it takes trusting yourself. Jobs eloquently states “You can’t connect the dots looking forward. You can only connect them looking backward. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something — your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. Because believing that the dots will connect down the road, will give you the confidence to follow your heart, even when it leads you off the well-worn path. And that will make all the difference.”
As many of you may know, I’m the eternal optimist, I love winning and I hate losing! Selecting this theme and examining it’s power has had a profound impact on our Leadership Team. The outcome from the wins/misses and do differently exercise was over the top. The teams quickly shifted their context of failure and examined ways to go back and do things differently.
Instead of focusing solely on winning, I ask that you shift your emphasis on where and why you didn’t win. Don’t dwell on it, instead take that learning, become better, and use that wisdom to create a breakthrough; be aware, the results will shock you!
Fail fast, fail often, learn from it, trust yourself, get up, try again, repeat!
I never lose – and neither do you!