In 1968, chemist Dr. Spencer Silver set out to create the world's strongest adhesive. He failed and instead created an even weaker adhesive than what already existed, one that would stick to things but could also be removed and repositioned. Although Dr. Silver failed at first, he later used his weak adhesive to create a different invention that we all know well: the post-it note! Success can be found anywhere, even in failure. But how do you learn from failure to create success? Here are 4 ways:
- Reexamine your preparation
How well did you plan and prepare to reach your goals? Did you study for your biochemistry test or watch tv instead? Also, did you make backup plans? For example, if you planned to study for your test 30 minutes every night did you set aside an extra 15 minutes per night in case you fell behind? A plan should outline not only your strategy and timing for approaching your goal, but should also consider potential setbacks and how you will deal with them.
- Did you use all of your resources?
Just as the Beetles said, you get by with a little help from your friends. Oftentimes, you need help to reach your goals. Did you use all of your resources when attempting to reach your goal? Perhaps there is a teacher you could have asked for extra help, or a library book you should have checked out. Explore resources made available to you by your school such as writer's workshops and librarians who can assist you with finding resources for your research. Let your motivation to succeed help you overcome your fear of asking for help.
- Reconsider your execution
A plan means nothing if it is not properly executed. You planned to study 30 minutes every night, but did you focus on studying or get distracted during that time? Reevaluate whether you put in consistent effort while trying to achieve your goal. Asses what distracted you from putting in your full effort and decide how you will overcome those obstacles in the future. If you truly feel like you precisely followed your plan, then create a new plan.
- Be persistent
When you let your failure discourage you from trying, you diminish your chances of succeeding. If Dr. Silver had let his failure define his career, he would never have invented the post-it note. Choose to look at your failure as a lesson that will help you improve in the future.