Lessons on Failure from Wile E. Coyote

28 06 2011

Failure:  It’s what we’re all afraid of in life.  Ok, not everyone, but you know what I mean.  Why?  Shouldn’t we expect failure on the way to success?  After all, there aren’t many people who make it big without a few, if not many, failures throughout their journey.

Remember the old Looney Tunes features with Wile E. Coyote and the Roadrunner?  Wile E. was an educated guy who tried in every way imaginable to catch the infamous Roadrunner.  This quest was of course, made possible by Acme, the coyote’s most trusted supplier of spy gear and roadrunner traps.  He must have tried thousands of ways to catch the Roadrunner, coming thiiiiiiiiis close, yet failing every time.  Did that keep him from ordering a new flight suit or rocket-propelled roller skates for his next ingenious plan?

Nope.

Here’s a short video that helps make my point:

I think we can all learn a few things from Wile E. Coyote.  Here are a few:

Learn from it.  Let’s be realistic with ourselves.  We’re going to fail.  We shouldn’t let that get the best of us.  Instead, try to learn from your failure.  You know what worked and what didn’t.  Use that knowledge to build a better plan to generate a more positive outcome.  Have you ever really just flunked an interview?  Ask for feedback and put it to good use.  The next one will be better!

Go for it.  Most people are afraid to fail like I mentioned before.  That very fear keeps us from simply going for it.  Assume that you’re going to succeed.  Set the right expectations and go for it.  You’ll never know how it turns out if you don’t go for it.  Take a chance, a leap of faith.  You can only learn from this.

Keep moving on.  Keep moving on.  I say this twice for a reason.  Don’t let failure get you down.  If you focus too much on what you did wrong, you’re going to miss what you did correctly.  Keep moving forward with the knowledge you’ve gained along the way through failure.  It’s a learning experience for everyone!

As Jason Seiden says in his blog, “fail spectacularly.”  Learn from it.  Go for it.  Keep moving on.                   

I hope you’ve enjoyed this short (yet powerful, I hope) post.  If you have, please pay it forward by sharing with a friend or coworker.  I don’t make any money by writing this blog and all the resources are free.  Help me spread the love by sharing with someone!  If you like the blog, please subscribe.  You can also find me on Facebook: www.facebook.com/campustocareer.  As always, thanks for reading!

Photo credit: BitMob

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10 responses

28 06 2011
Ronald Katz

As I heard someone from Wegmans say, “We encourage non-repetitive errors in the quest for excellence.” Ron

28 06 2011
Kirk Baumann

Thanks for the comment, Ron. That’s a great quote! Appreciate the value-add to this post. Have a great week!

Kirk

6 09 2011
Teamwork According to The Smurfs « Campus To Career

[…] so he thought) that was always devising a plan to capture the Smurfs.  His plan, much like that of Wile E. Coyote, always fell short.  Ah, memories…to be a kid again, […]

21 12 2011
Erica Roberts

I loved this post. It reminds me of the “Fail Harder” wall at the ad agency, Wieden + Kennedy. Teaching people that failing is okay, and expected, if you’re actually trying anything; is such a beautiful lesson. Thanks!

26 12 2011
Kirk Baumann

Erica,

Thanks for the comment! I’m a big fan of “fail spectacularly.” 🙂 Go big or go home, right? Hope you’re having a great holiday break!

Kirk

21 12 2011
katchley

Great advice for job hunting and life in general!

26 12 2011
Kirk Baumann

Thanks Kathryn!

27 03 2012
Recovering From a Screw-Up at Work « Campus To Career

[…] our mistakes.   Don’t be afraid to fail, but remember to learn from those failures.  Even a cartoon coyote knows the importance of this.  Don’t make the same mistake […]

18 10 2012
murphrhu

There was an excellent radio show on “To the Best of our Knowledge” on Public Radio International Called “How to Fail.” If you have the PRI app, it’s easy to find.

“Failure is a four letter work in America. Most of us do everything we can to avoid it. But what if we’ve got the wrong idea about failure? It’s all a matter of learning the right way to do it. This hour, one psychologist’s take on how to embrace the fall. And comedian Marc Maron on the hit podcast that saved his career and his life. And, columnist Thomas Friedman on why the US is falling behind and how we can come back.

CAROL DWECK ON THE PSYCHOLOGY OF FAILURE AND SUCCESS

Carol Dweck is researcher at Stanford University. She says everybody fails, but not everybody fails the right way.

ALISON WEIR ON MARY BOLEYN: WAS SHE A FAILURE?

Alison is a historical biographer and novelist. She examines the life of Mary Boleyn as the sister who lost the king to her sister Anne.

THOMAS FRIEDMAN ON HOW THE US FELL BEHIND

Thomas Friedman says the US is falling behind on the global stage.

21 12 2012
2012′s Top 20 Posts on Your Career « Campus To Career

[…] 5. Lessons on Failure from Wile E. Coyote  – He’s still chasing the Roadrunner, but there’s a lesson in there. Click the title to read how Saturday morning cartoons do more than entertain. […]

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