Failure can be a powerful teacher

I have failed more times than I want to admit. With each failure I received a PhD in what I would never do again. I will mention two personal failures to make my point. 31 years ago, I invested in some fast food restaurants that failed miserably and almost bankrupted me and then 18 years ago I invested with someone on a land development deal and that same person sold the land and stole all the money I had invested with him.

The title of this blog is, “failure can be a powerful teacher” and I want to share a couple of things. First, you will not understand what you learned by the failure until later. When you are close it, you can’t see it. It is only after reflection that you truly grasp the lesson. Second, a failure teaches you not only the questions to ask, but more importantly, the questions you didn’t know to ask. Thirdly, a failure can give you an incredible understanding of the details you need to address when contemplating a financial move. Lastly, it teaches you the true meaning of liability and risk when you put your name on a document.

See, you can’t really learn these things in a classroom setting and if you did learn them, it would not carry the same weight of conviction and understanding as it does if you experience it. Thankfully, we can be persuaded and educated without having to experience it ourselves. A good friend or advisor can teach us (if we will listen) all the downsides of a decision. If we trust that person, many times it can save us from failure.

Both of those personal failures mentioned above, while incredibly painful, taught me more than I could have ever learned any other way. If you look at the lives of most every successful person or company and if you look closely, you will see that they became who they are, due in large to failures along the way. Failure is a very painful teacher but if you let it, it can teach you life long lessons that will impact you and your family’s future. KT

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