How to derive value from failure

Drive value from your dollar…..and how to derive value from failure

Only this past week I caught up with paying a speeding fine that I had received three weeks ago. Ultimately this experience showed up as a moment in which I gained a new perspective on how to derive value from failure.

I had been nabbed for exceeding the speed limit on a steep decline. That has been only the second time that I had been issued a speeding fine in my 25+ years of driving. For a moment I had thought that this is exactly the wrong time to be getting fined given all the uncertainties abounding around the job market and home finances. 

“Is there a way to get out of this?” 

 The Problem:

I heard that when some friends of mine had been pulled over and honestly acknowledged their error of judgement in driving that they had been let off the hook. And in my mind, I thought “Okay, I’ll cop this on the chin, and just maybe by some fluke of luck I will get the copper on a good day.”

And so I thanked the police officer as he handed me the infringement notice and walked back to his car. 

…no such luck….at all…

…until I thought….. 

“Hey,  I get to make my own luck!”

The Solution: Derive value from failure

It then occurred to me that this unfortunate experience presented a very fortunate opportunity. This would be the moment when I finally allowed myself to change the habit that I had lived with too long already. Simply put, this is what showed up as my wake up call.

Occasionally, I told myself that it would make sense for me to more regularly apply the brakes when rolling down steep hills. (Really? Well what d’ya know!?) Friends of mine had even encouraged me to do the same. And each time they did that I would nod my head and say “Yes, you are right. I must do that.”

But then when I would be under pressure to make an appointment I would again find myself allowing the car to pick up as much acceleration as gravity would propel it to on the slope, inevitably exceeding the limit almost every time. 

But now I had lost several hundred dollars on being nabbed! I realised that I should not let this lesson go to waste.

It reminded me of a famous quote by Winston Churchill –

“Never let a good crisis go to waste.”

Winston Churchill

The New Paradigm:

Churchill, Never let failure go to waste, Derive value from failure

Now I read Churchill’s quote in a new light. My unfortunate experience became an investment not to be wasted. What was most refreshing about this perspective was that it allowed me to take complete responsibility for my actions. And all with a completely new paradigm!

At times I had learned about the value of taking responsibility for everything that happens in my life. But, I only digested those lessons on an intellectual level. Admittedly, I never really appreciated how taking full responsibility could feel empowering. I simply thought of it as a begrudging necessity of my personal effort to follow the principle of ‘self-empowerment’.

The problem with this attitude was because of the way I looked at it as a ‘begrudging necessity’. I resisted embracing the moment of delighting in being empowered through taking responsibility for my failings.

The Epiphany: How I derived value from my failure

Through this unfortunate experience of being nabbed for speeding, however, I actually felt good for having ‘lost’ that money at a time when my family needed it most. The primary point that felt good about it was that I knew that this episode would consolidate my intention to change my habit for simply rolling away above the speed limit on steep slopes. I was not going to let this failing go to waste. 

Regrowth after crisis, New beginnings, Derive value from failure

And what is impressive about this experience is that the habit of change has persisted for the past three weeks. This is a time frame that is widely considered to be a minimum requirement for instilling a lasting habit.…….So it seems there is hope for me yet:)

But the true gem of this experience is that it has shown me exactly what it takes to succeed in any facet of life. 

Many luminaries concur that their success has been built on top of defeated failings.

“Success is not built on success. It is built on failure. It’s built on frustration. And sometimes it’s built on catastrophe.”

Sumner Redstone

The Take-home-lesson:

You may think that of course, it makes sense to not waste failed experiences. But further to that it is also vital that we not waste our own failed moments to live up to our dreams. And to be honest that marks practically all of us. We are all born to the possibility of bringing greatness into this world through the actions that we choose to take.

What is your greatness waiting to be brought out into the world? If you are in a position of having freedom of time and resources available to allow you to share your unique greatness with the world then that is perfect.

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