According to a marine biologist, failure is the worst thing to learn from. And business coaches James Schramko and Rob Hanly agree.
In this quick tip, the two share the real lesson you learn from it.
Rob: Because I’m a big believer – there’s a guy called Rafe Sagarin, who unfortunately passed away, but he was a marine biologist who later consulted to the Pentagon on security and defense. And he would talk about how failure is actually the worst thing to learn from, because it’s an evolutionary dead end.
People will go, oh, we learn from failure, but all it teaches you is like, what not to do. But in biology, adaptation is about exploitation of advantage. So over the years, I’ve built this almost, you know, document as you’ve seen here, where these are the things that work. If I give this to someone, they exploit it, it’ll work. And it’s not fancy. I don’t feel it’s fancy, but I feel it’s just real fundamental stuff that I’ve collected from a career across multiple industries multiple years, that if I talk to someone and say, right, what do you need? What’s your problem? It probably is on this big paragraph. That’s where it came from.
James: Right. So I love what you said about failure. So you’re saying that all these people who bang on about you know, fail fast, fail quickly, failure is your friend and all that, is that all bullsh*t?
Rob: Look, I wouldn’t say it’s all bullsh*t. I think, you know, some people are worried about perfection, and they want to jump on it. But so you know, give yourself a bit of compassion. But don’t seek out failure. When all you do is learn from your failures, all you’re learning is how to build a body of knowledge of what not to do.
James: Like a hundred ways not to do something.
Rob: Exactly, exactly.
James: This is why I like you, Rob. Because I’ve never been a huge fan of failure. I don’t get it when people celebrate it so much. I’m like, why not just avoid it and especially, like, if you can observe someone else’s failure, which there’s plenty of material for, you can add that to your list of things not to do without having to go through it personally. So I think that’s tremendous.
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