I recently shared a truly enlightening conversation with my husband, Rory Vaden. As we traveled to a speaking event in Orlando, we found ourselves blessed with a rare hour of solitude—absent from our two awesome kids, who frequently command the center of our universe. The topic at hand? Failure and quitting, a duo that, on the surface, seems intimidating and rife with negativity. But as we delved deeper, we discovered a profound connection to how we view these concepts in our lives, particularly as we navigate the rollercoaster of parenting. I wanted to share this conversation because it held lessons not only for us but potentially for anyone reading this too.
Let’s kick things off with an unexpected admission: I am a colossal fan of failure. Yes, you read that correctly! Failure is inevitable, a part of life we must embrace rather than dread. As parents, the instinct to shield our children from failure is strong, but it’s equally crucial for them to experience it. They need to learn how to recover, how to comprehend that rejection is a part of life, not an insurmountable obstacle. Victory will not always be in the cards, and that is perfectly okay.
In my perspective, failure is a magnificent teacher. It molds you, shapes you, and contributes to the construction of your character. It fosters persistence and perseverance. It’s crucial to fail quickly, rebound quickly, and remember: failure is not only acceptable, it’s encouraged. Failure doesn’t define you—it’s a part of humanity, an element of our shared experience. So, learn to love it, embrace it, and bounce back from it. This resilience forms a vital part of the human skillset.
Now, let’s turn our attention to quitting, a notion distinct from failure. Of course, there are occasions when it’s necessary and even admirable to walk away. We all need to protect ourselves from unhealthy environments and relationships. However, it’s the everyday instances of giving up—the quitting born out of convenience or difficulty—that I take issue with. Failure? It’s a natural part of the journey. But choosing the path of least resistance, the road of quitting, simply because it’s easier? That’s not the route to growth or satisfaction.
Quitting has its place when it is a conscious decision to step away from a situation that is no longer serving us. In such instances, it’s a brave and self-preserving action. But it becomes problematic when quitting is used as an escape from challenge, inconvenience, or difficulty. You are capable of achieving greatness, but remember, great things are seldom easy. They require effort, patience, and tenacity.
In an age of instant gratification, it’s easy to fall prey to impatience and entitlement. We sometimes expect immediate results, or perhaps we think we should follow the path of someone else. But life just doesn’t work that way.
Failing and learning from those experiences shapes us, while quitting can often stunt our growth. Quitting is a choice, so make the decision wisely. Persevere, learn, and refrain from taking the easy way out. If you embrace failure in your life and understand the difference between quitting and choosing to end a harmful situation, you will see a shift in your perspective and your life.
So, let’s adjust our lenses: failing is good, quitting is not. Remember, ending something that no longer serves you is different from quitting. So, don’t quit. Fail fast, fail often, but make sure to extract the lessons from each stumble. In doing so, you’ll find your journey is richer and your growth more profound.