Sunday Observer Online


Sunday, 27 November 2011





Marriage Proposals
Government Gazette

Learn from success, not failure

Oh... what is he talking?...Is Kishu off his head this time around? This may be your spontaneous reaction to the title. I know this idea in contradicts what you have already heard and have to been told before. There is a notion that we should learn from failure to succeed, the next time when you attempt the same activity. Failure is taught to be good to get the best out of you. We all know that it is true. But.....

Look back is a must in both cases

When faced with failure you become critical and when you taste success you feel accomplished. Failure, therefore, is critically analysed, while success is not.

A good appraisal will enlighten you on the flaws in planning and execution and the use of that information will help to avoid the same or similar flaws. How can one keep achieving great results or in the case of an organisation keep elevating the level of success? It's simply by identifying finer opportunities to continually develop and grow.

It's by making step changes to the way of doing things - consistently looking for innovation and creativity to improve. Reflect on what you and your organisation have done in the past? This I'm sure will enable a new perspective.

Failure, forces one to get back to basics - success teaches you to raise the bar

When failure occurs you usually go back to basics and correct the fundamental flaws which make you cross the bar and claim the win. Whereas when flaws in success are corrected it elevates the level of success. The rate of success is not usually measured. If you develop the habit of looking for opportunities for greater success you will always see them. One-time success does not guarantee continued success - consistent action does not always ensure consistent results. With environmental challenges multiplying - to stay where you are, you have to keep improving performance; be it your individual or employer's.

Success has no limits

Behind every success there is failure. It's just that such failure finds refuge under overall success - and it does not surface by itself. The feeling of happiness you derive out of success, blindfolds you in most situations. There is no end to level success - after all no success is perfect. If you want to learn from success, consider chunking down the opportunities to improve into steps in which you can succeed more easily or aim for greater success.

Analyse the root cause of success too

The fact that we learn more from our successes than from failure is not new. Even family pets respond more to reward than punishment, and so do our children. But what wasn't in the 'conscious mind' is how learning out of success can guide you to achieve greater heights? In my view, both failure and success should trigger further investigation. It helps us revise our assumptions, models, inherent practices and behaviour. Why not use the same approach to understand the root causes of success? Let's challenge the theory for good reasons.

Nothing builds success like more success

Consider your goals - certainly you'll feel accomplished if you succeed. But what if you fail? Do you have an 'intermediate' goal you'll achieve if you fall short of your 'big' goal? In this case, you'll have succeeded - and learned from the experience more than if you had simply failed.

Or, what if you do 'fail' - what then? In what have you succeeded in the process of 'failing'? What positive outcome did you achieve? Maybe you made a mess of one thing but scored in another in the process. What is it you did achieve? You may need to look deep - and in the search, you'll discover the learning, part too.

I'm not a psychologist but my experience qualifies me to conclude that success has a much greater influence on the brain than failure. Success inspires us all and naturally motivates you to tap into your maximum innate capacity. So use it for greater success.


LANKAPUVATH - National News Agency of Sri Lanka
Telecommunications Regulatory Commission of Sri Lanka (TRCSL)
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