Book | Takeaways from John Maxwell’s book “Failing Forward”


Many people are never prepared to deal with failure–and I’m one of those. Failure is not something my school, the society nor my family has prepared me for. I was raised to get a perfect score in exams, to memorize books from cover to cover and to never fail in my classes.

In my mind, I have to be successful whatever it cost. It doesn’t matter if I compromise my virtue or bargain my integrity, what matters most is I ‘look’ successful in the eyes of others. My mind created a distorted notion of success and failure. Until, life slapped me in the face that awards, honors and recognition are nothing if I couldn’t prove I’m worthy of it. Success is not significant, if in reality you haven’t really achieve anything. Life knocked me down not just once but more than a dozen of times, because of that I lose confidence, I became fearful and I tried to just play it safe. My moment of glory was gone, now I’m just a face in the crowd. Success just became a distant memory.

But John Maxwell’s books gave me a fresh insights and revelation on how to fail forward and to how to redeem myself. This book is a real page turner, the stories here will take you to different situation and will make you look at life in different angle. This is just the glimpse. Better if you will grab a copy of the book! Well, here’s the steps on how you can fail forward:

1. There is one major difference between people who achieve and people who are average.

“The difference between average people and achieving people is their perception of and response to failure.”

“Two people with similar gifts, talents and resources can look at a situation, and one person will see tremendous opportunity while the other sees nothing. Opportunity is the eye of the beholder.”

“There is no doubt I my mind that there are many ways to be a winner, but there is only one way to be a loser and that is to fail and not look beyond failure.”

“The increase of suicides, alcoholics and even some forms of nervous breakdown is evidence that many people are training for success when they should be training for failure.”

2. Learn a new definition of failure.

Mistakes don’t define failure.They are merely the price of achievement on the success journey.

“People who see failure as the enemy are captive to those who conquer it.” Herbert Brocknow believes, “The fellow who never makes a mistake takes his orders from one who does.” Observe any high achiever and you’ll discover a person who doesn’t see a mistake as the enemy.

Musicologist Eloise Ristad emphasizes that “when we give ourselves permission to fail, we at the same time give ourselves permission to excel.”

3. Remove the ‘you’ from failure.

“I’m not a failure. I failed at doing something. There’s a big difference.”

“I tell everyone I’m up there and they’re down there, not because of my successes, but my failures.”

“If you want to succeed, don’t let any single incident color your view of yourself.”

4.Take action and reduce your fear.

“The worst danger we face is the danger of being paralyzed by doubts and fears.”

Playwright George Bernard Shaw asserted, “A life spent in making mistakes is not only more honorable  but more useful than a life spent doing nothing.” To overcome fear and break the cycle, you have to be willing to recognize that you will spend much of your time making mistakes.

“The whole idea of motivation is  a trap. Forget motivation. Just do it. Exercise, lose weight, test your blood sugar, or whatever. Do it without motivation and then guess what. After you start doing the thing, that’s when the motivation comes and makes it easy for you to keep on doing it.”

5. Change your response to failure by accepting responsibility.

The old saying is true: “If you always do what you’ve always done, then you will always get what you’ve always gotten.”

I believe in the motto, “Try and try again.” But the way I read it, it says “Try, then stop and think. Then try again.”

6. Don’t let the failure from outside get inside you.

“It’s not what happens to me; it’s what happens in me. It’s not the size of the problem, but how I handle the problem.”

“Failure is an inside job.  So is success. If you want to achieve, you have to win the war in your thinking first. You can’t let the failure outside you get inside you.”

7. Say goodbye to yesterday.

The problem of people’s past impact them in one of two ways: They experience either a breakdown or a breakthrough.

Your next shot can be as good or bad as your last one–but you’ll always get another chance.

8. Change yourself, and your world changes

Psychiatrist Rudolf Dreikurs observed, “We can change our whole life and the attitude of people around us simply by changing ourselves.”

“No one ever achieved his dream working outside his areas of gifting. To excel, do what you do well.”

9. Get over yourself and start giving yourself.

“Be more concerned with what you can give rather than what you can get because giving truly is the highest level of living.”

10. Find the benefit in every bad experience.

“To achieve your dreams, you must embrace adversity and make failure a regular part of your life. If you’re not failing., you’re probably not really moving forward.”

“The process of achievement comes through repeated failures and the constant struggle to climb to a higher level.”

11. If at first you do succeed, try something harder.

“If you’ve been hitting all the goals you set for yourself, then you need to increase you willingness to take chances. The road to the next level is always uphill, so you can’t coast there.”

12. Learn from a bad experience and make it a good experience.

William Bolitho distinguishes between between a sensible person and a foolish one, “The most important thing in life is not to capitalize on our gains. Any fool can do that. The really important thing is to profit form you loses. That requires intelligence; and it makes the difference between a man of sense and a fool.”

Sydney Harris sums up the element of  a teachable mind-set “A winner knows how much he still has to learn, even when he is considered an expert by others. A loser wants to be considered an expert by others before he has learned enough to know how little he knows.”

An old saying states, “The gem cannot be polished without friction, nor man perfected without trials.” NO matter what kind of failure you experience, there is always a potential jewel of success contained in it.

13. Work on the weakness that weakens you.

If you’re committed, a failure doesn’t mean that you’ll never succeed. It just means you will take longer. Commitment makes you capable of failing forward until you reach your goals.

14. Understand there’s not much difference between failure and success.

“Nothing worth achieving comes easy.”

“Having a sense of purpose keeps a person going the midst of adversity. It is the fuel that powers persistence.”

15. Get up, get over it, get going

“A champion gets up one more time than he gets knocked down.”

William Knudson joked, “Experience is knowing a lot of things you shouldn’t do.”

Thanks for reading! I hope you get a dose of inspiration! I typed every single letter in this post! 🙂


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