You don’t learn to walk by following rules. You learn by doing, and by falling over.

Richard Branson

Everyone who has ever achieved something huge, unbelievable or amazing did so by trial and error. Scores of written work exist on the subject of success through failure. Silicon Valley has the ‘fail fast’ mentality, Nike and Michael Jordan had the infamous ‘Failure’ advert and there are numerous anecdotes of rejection and misses before incredible breakthroughs (Thomas Edison, JK Rowling and Walt Disney are a few examples). The key to all of the above stories is the willingness by the individuals to learn from the mistakes made and paths taken.

 This guy failed thousands of times and is considered the greatest of all time.

Learning can be a bit of a dull word. For me, it brings to mind classes in school, textbooks, copying paragraphs from a board or projector onto paper. The truth is, this isn’t learning. Sure we may learn some things in this way: dates, facts, words, but more often than not we are numbed to the idea of learning by the current education system. We learn from doing, from watching others, from trying things out and analyzing the results. This doesn’t have to be a great in-depth analysis, sometimes it can happen subconsciously where the smallest tweak can make a world of difference. Think of Richard Branson’s quote at the beginning about walking or how we learn to speak. We try. We Fail. We learn.

Those at the top of their professions have made a commitment to themselves to learn every single day. The most successful businesses improve processes and continually change in order to remain competitive. I would argue that by learning you are growing and if you aren’t growing, you are essentially dying. This is true for the individual or the organization.

My hope is that everyone makes an explicit commitment to themselves to learn every day. Learn more about their work, learn through reading, learn from your idols, learn by trying, testing and tweaking. Whether it is concrete ‘hard skills’ such as coding, playing an instrument or a foreign language or a ‘soft skill’ such as being more empathetic or being able to cope under pressure more effectively, then we are all better off for your commitment.

In my own life I try to learn every day. Even through the process of writing I try to communicate better, learn more about myself and better organise my thoughts. I aim to make something from nothing, put it out to the world and learn from my mistakes. Try. Fail. Learn.

Try. Fail. Learn.