What You Can’t Learn From Failure

Posted 10.26.2015

Is there a mindful approach to failure? You may reject the question on its face. After all, if you were mindful in the first place, wouldn’t you succeed rather than fail? You might if you had perfect knowledge or controlled all the variables, but, of course, none of us do.

Failure is a fact of life. Since it’s ever present, shouldn’t you and your team try to learn from it so you do better next time? That’s where a mindful approach – being aware and intentional – comes in. You’re not going to learn anything from failure itself. You’re only going to learn if you stop to unpack what happened and determine what you need to do differently next time.

In my latest post for Fast Company, I interviewed Craig Mullaney about how he learns from failure. Given his resume, Craig may seem to be an unlikely expert on the topic. He currently manages Facebook’s strategic partnerships with global influencers. Before that, he graduated second in his class from West Point, completed Army Ranger school, earned a masters degree at Oxford as a Rhodes scholar, served in combat in Afghanistan, and wrote a New York Times best seller about his experience, The Unforgiving Minute.

Even people with a resume like Craig’s have failure in their life. The difference is how they learn from it. Read on for insights into how Craig was taught to learn from failure and how you can use the same process to learn from yours.