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John Maxwell on Failure

These are some notes from John Maxwell’s book “Failing Forward.”

The difference between average people and achieving people is their perception of and response to failure.

The question in life is not if you will have problems, but how you are going to deal with them.  Stop failing backward and start failing forward.

If the possibility of failure were erased, what would you attempt to achieve?”
If your perception of and response to failure were changed, what would you attempt to achieve?

Failing backwards is:

blaming others, repeating the same mistakes, expecting never to fail again
expecting to continually fail, being limited by past mistakes, thinking I am a failure, quitting

No matter how difficult your problems are, the key is not changing your circumstances, it is changing yourself.

That in itself is a process and begins by being teachable.

People are too quick to judge the isolated situations in their lives and label them as failures.

We need to see it in the context of the bigger picture in our lives.  This perspective leads to perseverance,
perseverance brings longevity.  Longevity gives you more opportunities for success.

Failure is not avoidable
Failure is not an event
Failure is not objective
Failure is not the enemy
Failure is not irreversible
Failure is not a stigma
Failure is not final

Failure is simply a price we pay to achieve success–once we embrace that, we are free to start moving ahead and
failing forward

Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close to success they were when they gave up.

There’s a big difference between failing at doing something and being a failure.

seven abilities needed to fail forward

1.  achievers reject rejection–people who don’t give up trying don’t base their self esteem on their performance.
They have an internally based self esteem–they don’t take failure personally.

2.  Achievers see failure as temporary–people who personalize failure see it as a hole they are stuck in, achievers see their problems as temporary.

3.  Achievers see failures as isolated incidents–to succeed don’t let a single event color your view of yourself

4.  Achievers keep expecations realistic–achievement takes time, effort, and the ability to overcome setbacks.

5.  Achievers focus on strengths–continually develop and maximize your strengths.

6. Achievers vary approaches to achievement–they vary their approach when one method of solving a problem does not work.

7.  Achievers bounce back–by not taking mistakes or temporary failures personally.


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Failing Forward: Turning Mistakes into Stepping Stones for Success