Fail Forward – How to Learn From Your Experiences
Making the same mistakes, again and again, is extremely frustrating. But unfortunately, it’s something most of us do to some extent. In order to stop repeating the same mistakes, we must learn to fail forward.
It is very satisfying to finally put a bad habit to bed, to grow wiser and improve. For this reason, optimizing wisdom-acquisition is crucial.
Gleaning lasting wisdom from our experiences is a very worthy goal.
Here is how to fail forward – how to learn from your experiences.
Decide Consciously That You Want To Fail Forward
Make a conscious decision to view the world as a classroom in which you are constantly learning. With this mindset every experience, good or bad, is valuable.
Decide to have a mind that is wide open, hungry for new lessons. Don’t be blind or stubborn. Be willing to change your mind when your experiences prove your ideas to be wrong.
Constantly update your models and ideas about the world. A more rational understanding of the world will always alleviate pain. Accurate knowledge is power. The truth will set you free.
With this mindset, ‘unpleasant’ experiences such as rejection and failure become wonderful learning opportunities that you can actually enjoy.
Consciously deciding to learn from your experiences will allow you to build an accurate map of reality slowly but surely as you move through life.
“And never forget that writing is as close as we get to keeping a hold on the thousand and one things – childhood, certainties, cities, doubts, dreams, instants, phrases, parents, loves – that go on slipping, like sand, through our fingers.” Salman Rushdie.
When you write about an experience you gain a much better understanding of the experience. Through writing, you make connections, see patterns and gain a deeper understanding.
We need to be reminded of certain truths again and again. Some helpful truths are counter-intuitive and don’t occur naturally to us.
Most of us have many bad habits of thought. We tend to believe stories about the world that are not true.
In order to change our bad thought habits we often need to remind ourselves of helpful truths repeatedly.
We are not designed by natural selection to be happy necessarily. Many of the instincts that keep us alive also make us stressed and unhappy. Anxiety, fear, jealousy, competitiveness – these emotions come naturally to us.
But to be happy, light and effective in the modern world it is often best to root out these innate but often irrational emotions. This can be a difficult process. It can take a lot of repetition and practice. But the work is worth it.
Regularly re-affirming to yourself the truths you learn as you go through life will help you to incorporate them fully.
Engineer Deliberate Learning Experiences
See the world as your laboratory. Experiment with deliberate learning experiences.
Make hypothesis’ and then test them against reality. Take actions in the real world in order to see if your hypothesis come true.
Engineer deliberate learning experiences so you can learn from them. Jump outside of your box on purpose to have experiences that will give you wisdom.
You cannot learn how to drive a car from a book. You must get behind the wheel and viscerally feel the reality of driving.
Experiential learning is key. So give yourself plenty of opportunities to learn experientially.
Be Sober and Healthy
A clear, high-functioning mind enables you to see reality as clearly.
If you go through life in an alcohol, weed, or fast food-induced haze you will not see the world clearly.
Many people use alcohol as a crutch to get them through social experiences. This means that they are never sober enough to learn how to function in these areas without the crutch.
See the world with clarity. Being sober and healthy will allow you to optimally learn from the experiences you have in life.
Making the same mistakes, again and again, can ultimately teach us vital lessons. But it can be a painful process. An unnecessary pain. But if you want to do it this way, by all means, do! Pain can be a great teacher. Utilize the pain of repeating mistakes, in order to learn and grow wise.
You can also deliberately repeat experiences in order to learn. An example of this would be to repeat the experience of chatting to strangers again and again in order to get great at it and drop the fear.
Repetition, either by mistake or deliberately, will provide us with plenty of grist for the learning mill. However, you choose to do it, keep moving, continue to fail forward, don’t look back too much, learn as you go.
Learn From The Experiences of Other People
Let people be an example to you. Learn from how other people live.
Emulate the good behaviours of others. But also learn what not to do by studying the bad behaviours and mistakes of others.
You can glean lots of wisdom and lessons from noticing the way other people live their lives.
So get out there and fail forward!
The Good Life Guys.