Success News – Why Failing Isn’t So Bad

In a world of booms and busts, career paths that seemed to be on the right track sometimes stalled out. Even high achievers felt a pang of dissatisfaction, and many wondered whether they could ever find the satisfaction that would make their work worthwhile, regardless of how much money or prestige they earned.

The answer, as it turns out, is no. Survey after survey shows that the majority of working people are dissatisfied with their jobs, and a substantial number suffer from burnout. Many struggle with a fundamentally intractable conundrum: How can you get the success you want while keeping your family, health, and personal life intact?

Fortunately, some people are finding solutions. One example is a company called Uniqlo, which offers low-cost clothing that doesn’t skimp on quality or style. Another is a reimagined boarding process at an American airline that cuts down on stress for both passengers and flight attendants. Then there’s a program at California Training Facility prison that trains incarcerated men and women to become entrepreneurs. The results are astonishing.

All of these examples — and the countless others that aren’t as widely known — offer valuable lessons on the nature of success. They show that, in the end, what matters most isn’t just your hard work and innate talent, but how you approach your goals and how much you learn from your mistakes.

This week, researchers published a paper in Nature that offers the best yet explanation of why some people can’t seem to stop failing, despite how often they try. Using a mathematical model, the researchers found that success comes down to either learning from your mistakes or having a certain amount of luck. They tested both theories by analyzing how well each might explain the success of individuals who, like Edison, Ford, and Rowling, appear to have learned from their failures over time.

The researchers found that, in fact, successful people rely on both of these forces. They’re luckier, but they’re also more consciously learning from their mistakes. This is because they’re trying to improve on what they’ve already done, rather than allowing their chances to fluctuate randomly. It’s important to note that this difference can be small, but it’s real. And that means that it’s not necessarily easy to spot.