How to Manage Failure Using the Edison Approach

We all view failures and mistakes differently. But when it comes to attaining success, a holistic view of failure is required. Failure is important to your success. In fact, a notable motivational speaker states that to attain success you have to double the rate of your failures.

The question now is how do you manage your failures and not be crushed by it. As a career person you need all the energy you can get. And trust me a failure can be so disappointing all your energy is sapped.

The Disappointment Trap

When you experience a disappointment of any kind, your natural reaction is to feel stunned emotionally. You feel as though you have been punched in your emotional solar plexus. You feel hurt, let down, disappointed and discouraged. You occasionally feel like quitting altogether and doing something completely different. These feelings are normal and natural when you experience frustration or failure of any kind. The only question is, how long do they last?

When you go to a doctor or clinic for a complete medical exam, you will often be given a stress test. First, they will take your pulse at your raising heart rate. Then they will ask you to do some aerobic exercises to raise your heart rate. Once your heart rate is up to a particular point, they will measure it again. The mark of how fit you are is how rapidly your heart returns to its pulse rate after exercise.

Bouncing Back

With your personality, it is the same. The mark of how mentally healthy you are can be measured by how quickly you recover after experiencing a disappointment. Of course a setback or reversal will hurt. It always hurts if what you are trying to do is important to you but that’s not the main point. The main point is how quickly you bounce back. Your recovery rate is everything. If you plan in advance for setbacks and problems, your recovery rate will be much faster.

The Edison Approach

Thomas Edison, the greatest inventor of the modern age, was convinced that experimentation was simply a process of elimination. He therefore kept accurate records of every experiment. Once he had decided that an invention was possible, he dedicated himself to eliminating the ways that wouldn’t work until the only method left standing was the one way that would work. As a result he became the greatest inventor of the modern age and one of the wealthiest businessmen in the country. You should start doing the same.

This Edison approach was also employed by James Dyson who had worked on a prototype of his phenomenal vacuum cleaner, racking up over 5,126 failed attempts before perfecting the final product. He then founded the Dyson company, and is now best known for having invented the Dual Cyclone bagless vacuum cleaner. He said, “Enjoy failure and learn from it. You can never learn from success.”

Failure is what you learn from and makes you better. Attaining success isn’t an accident but a result. From now on, each time you try and fail, shrug it off as a learning experience that just moved you one step closer to success. As Henry Ford once said, “Failure is merely an opportunity to more intelligently begin again.”

In conclusion, using the Edison approach helps you realize when a method is not working so that you avoid repeating mistakes. You cannot expect a different result from a repeated failure.

So the next time you cannot reach a goal and solve a problem it is time for you to eliminate an unsuccessful method. You will attain success and manage your failures better.

Feel free to tell me what works for you during a failed attempt.