Do you believe in failing forward?

28 replies
I have a book on my bookshelf that's titled "Failing Forward: turning mistakes into stepping stones for success".

The first time I saw it in the bookstore the title obviously caught my eyes so I bought a copy and read it the same evening.

Ever since that day, years ago, I cannot get this book out of my head mainly because of the lessons it teaches. So, are you ready to fail forward?

The question I want you to answer is: what specific failures have moved you forward in life and in internet marketing in particular?
#fail #forward
  • Profile picture of the author Top Dog Marketer
    Whats up gorvene!

    I've never read that book, but I'm sure that you and I share the same mindset.

    The way I like to look at failure is this: Mistakes we make are only temporary failures, but once we except them as "the end" then that's when they become real permanent failures.

    If you can get past failures, you'll find a golden nugget of knowledge in each. I remember when I first got started with direct mail, I mailed a letter and only got 2 orders, and this was mailed to 1,000 people!

    I was really upset, but with marketing TESTING IS KEY. So I started testing different headlines, mail piece designs, and premiums and by my 3rd mailing I was breaking even which was perfect because I had a solid back end set up as well.
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  • Profile picture of the author cvan
    I do believe in failing forward. With every failure that I've had, it has brought me closer to where I need to be. Let's face it, everybody fails at something. Thomas Edison failed thousands of times before he invented the light bulb but all those failures taught him what DIDN'T work and got him that much closer to what DOES work!
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    • Profile picture of the author Rohm
      Related gem:

      "There is NO failure. ONLY feedback."
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      • Profile picture of the author Carmen_Hudson
        I've just added that one to my list on Amazon, cause--I do have a fear of failure. Though I've mostly "Gotten over it" the reminders and additional insight would be outstanding--especially as I'm trying to take my work to the next level.
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        • Profile picture of the author peterj
          Never read the book, but yeah, if your not failing your not learning.

          Failing/making mistakes is is part of the growth process whether it is on a global evolutionary scale or a personal one.

          Pete
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  • Profile picture of the author Justin Says
    I think that the whole "failure" thing is overrated.

    I agree that the beginning, you are going to fail here and there, and that it can be helpful.

    But later down the road, you need to focus on doing things right.

    There are studies that show those who fail the first time are extremely more likely to fail again, whilst those who haven't failed doing a particular task on their first try are less likely to fail again.

    Failure is a learning experience, but don't try to hope for failure.
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    • Profile picture of the author The Niche Man
      I've failed forward many times in my internet marketing career. Like the times I've tried to be all things to all people, instead of marketing to a specific niche.

      And the other times I've trusted individuals, deals and even products without double checking my facts.

      And the biggest doozie was jumping from one "can't fail business opportunity" to the next.

      All those thumps up side my head took time to learn. But saves me enormous time now that I've learned those lessons.
      "Learning the lessons of failure and not repeating them"
      That's my definition of failing forward.
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      • Profile picture of the author AC683
        Yes, I believe in failing forward. If you learn from your failures and strive to not make the same mistake twice you will get better. And that is the meaning of success.

        As Earl Nightingale stated "Success is the progressive realization of a worthy goal or ideal. As long as you are making progress you are succeeding. To often we look at failure as the end when in reality it should be more of a beginning. If used properly, failure forms the foundation for our success. Mistakes give us experience. We can use that experience on future challenges or we can use our experiences to help others avoid the same failures that we have had.

        Years ago I had a goal to earn a six figure income in direct marketing. I failed to hit that goal through that vehicle. But during that time I read a lot of books, improved my attitude and learned how to work well with people. I failed to hit my goal, but I am a better person because of what I learned in the pursuit of that goal.

        Failing Forward a great book.
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  • Profile picture of the author Jonathan 2.0
    I definitely agree with "failing forward." I wrote a blog post about it below.
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  • Profile picture of the author Justin Says
    I just wanted to share something by Jason Fried (37signals).

    Post #1: Learning from failure is overrated - (37signals)

    Post #2: Failure is overrated, a redux - (37signals)

    Audio: [Podcast] Episode #4: Jason Fried's speech at BIG Omaha 2009 - (37signals)



    I'm so with Jason on so many levels. He has a much better idea of how failure/success works.
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    • Profile picture of the author 711gemstone
      I look at is this way if you learned something from the attempt then you have grown not failed
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    • Profile picture of the author Jonathan 2.0
      Originally Posted by Justin Lewis View Post

      I just wanted to share something by Jason Fried (37signals).

      Post #1: Learning from failure is overrated - (37signals)
      I suppose it's whether people choose to listen to Jason Fried or some of the most successful people in history (literally).

      Uncovering the secret to “failure” is amazing.
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      "Each problem has hidden in it an opportunity so powerful that it literally dwarfs the problem. The greatest success stories were created by people who recognized a problem and turned it into an opportunity."―Joseph Sugarman
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    • Profile picture of the author peterj
      Originally Posted by Justin Lewis View Post

      I think that the whole "failure" thing is overrated.

      There are studies that show those who fail the first time are extremely more likely to fail again, whilst those who haven't failed doing a particular task on their first try are less likely to fail again.

      .
      I'm pretty sure that if one looked one would find studies that show the opposite to be true also

      Originally Posted by Justin Lewis View Post

      I just wanted to share something by Jason Fried (37signals).

      Post #1: Learning from failure is overrated - (37signals)

      Post #2: Failure is overrated, a redux - (37signals)

      Audio: [Podcast] Episode #4: Jason Fried's speech at BIG Omaha 2009 - (37signals)



      I'm so with Jason on so many levels. He has a much better idea of how failure/success works.
      This is all assuming that people are using failing as a goal in itself.

      Its not a matter of choosing to fail (everybody does it all the time, like it or not) but of how one deals with failure should it occur.

      Pete
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      • Profile picture of the author Justin Says
        Originally Posted by peterj View Post

        This is all assuming that people are using failing as a goal in itself.

        Its not a matter of choosing to fail (everybody does it all the time, like it or not) but of how one deals with failure should it occur.

        Pete

        Oh I agree. But a lot of people think failure is a good thing to focus on.. and a lot of people end up thinking that failure is a great thing to do. When they should focus on the success's.

        Don't focus on the fact that you spent the last 3 months working really hard and only made $1 (some consider this a failure), when in fact that's a success! Focus on that $1 and prove to yourself that you can do it again.
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        • Profile picture of the author Jonathan 2.0
          Originally Posted by Justin Lewis View Post

          Oh I agree. But a lot of people think failure is a good thing to focus on.. and a lot of people end up thinking that failure is a great thing to do. When they should focus on the success's.
          Hi Justin,

          Turning failure into success (by learning something from it) ... Is concentrating on success.
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          "Each problem has hidden in it an opportunity so powerful that it literally dwarfs the problem. The greatest success stories were created by people who recognized a problem and turned it into an opportunity."―Joseph Sugarman
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          • Profile picture of the author aLion
            "I have missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I have lost almost 300 games. On 26 occasions I have been entrusted to take the game winning shot... and missed. And I have failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed."

            Michael Jordan
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          • Profile picture of the author Justin Says
            Originally Posted by Jonathan 2.0 View Post

            Hi Justin,

            Turning failure into success (by learning something from it) ... Is concentrating on success.
            I absolutely agree

            But so many people aim for failure. Even if it's not intentional, they think that it's a good thing to try to fail.

            I just find that weird and I wanted to share my thoughts.

            To give my own experience, I have a project I spent $7,000 on that didn't succeed. It was a failure. But luckily it gave me the idea and experience to try for something else, which was directly beneficial and has profited since then.

            So I can say I succeeded from failure, but I should have looked ahead of myself, because that project took A LOT of my time and work and got no where. Whilst most of my other projects cost me around $10 - $100 and exceed my expectations almost every time.
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            • Profile picture of the author Jonathan 2.0
              We're pretty much on the same page. I think people should aim to succeed. When they fail, however, use that failure to be more successful. When you learn something from it failure = success.
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              "Each problem has hidden in it an opportunity so powerful that it literally dwarfs the problem. The greatest success stories were created by people who recognized a problem and turned it into an opportunity."―Joseph Sugarman
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              • Profile picture of the author Justin Says
                Originally Posted by Jonathan 2.0 View Post

                We're pretty much on the same page. I think people should aim to succeed. When they fail, however, use that failure to be more successful. When you learn something from it failure = success.
                Yep I'm on the same road as you

                But that's the only time failure should equal success (IMO), some people aim for failure and that's not the way to go. Aim for success, if you fail, then learn from it, but always aim for success.
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  • Profile picture of the author bensonenterprise
    I have definitely failed forward in my online career. Made a lot of mistakes, sometimes I allowed those failures to be huge setbacks for me until I realized that if I just change my perspective about these failures I could instead look at them as I am one step closer to finding out what really does work.

    Once I stopped looking at it as me "failing" but rather "I was getting closer to my goal" it made it a lot easier to find the right way to do things.

    I have never read the book you mentioned but I have read several others including the one I read most recently called "The Magic of thinking big" this one is about looking at setbacks as opportunities and always looking at ways you can do things better.
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  • Profile picture of the author Jonathan 2.0
    Originally Posted by gorvene View Post

    The question I want you to answer is: what specific failures have moved you forward in life and in internet marketing in particular?
    Overcoming social anxiety, depression, and suicide (etc.) made me into a better person.

    I'll never forget Napoleon Hill's quotation:

    “Every adversity, every failure, and every heartache carries with it the seed of an equal or greater benefit.”
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  • Profile picture of the author gallowayvera
    i dont think so...
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  • Profile picture of the author Nereah
    mmmm am yet to know if there is something like this....
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  • Profile picture of the author Daymon
    I don't think failure are failure, I think they are important building blocks
    I think when I had to quit my job in sudden thats when I realize it was actually not bad but good as I took a better one...
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  • Profile picture of the author Kaysa
    My biggest failing forward it's asking, expecting and not getting the support of my family in my online efforts.

    Now that I've realized the negation of them I turn this energy into motivation to keep moving forward.
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  • Of course! I can't even begin to explain how so many things have fallen into my lap. Even mistakes. I can look back and know that I'm a stronger person now. You're kidding yourself if you think you have complete control of all circumstances around you.
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  • Profile picture of the author AJ Smith44
    Yes, I believe in falling forward. I learned the concept from Denzel Washington. It makes since when you think about it; however, I never knew there was a book about it. I will look into it-thanks...
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