Failing Forward by John C. Maxwell – Summary

Failing Forward by John C. Maxwell - Summary
Share This with Someone Who Needs to See This

John Maxwell is a multiple-time New York time bestselling author and has sold over 31 million copies worldwide.

Failing Forward by John C. Maxwell, as the title indicates, is a book about failure. Failure often gets a bad rap and has a stigma attached to it.

In this book, he talks about how to deal with problems and mistakes in our lives and move on without dwelling too much on what has happened.

He also advocates for making changes when it feels like things are not going well in order to find balance and equilibrium.

This book will teach you how to face your failures and find success within them. “Fail early, fail often, but always fail forward.”

Failing Forward by John C. Maxwell

Failure is inevitable, and it’s going to happen to all of us. Failing forward simply means to extract all the positives from the event and move forward and try again.

If at first, you don’t get it, it’s completely okay. Don’t quit, don’t fall backward, learn from the lessons and fail forward.

Failing Forward
Failing Forward

You should actually seek failure and not avoid it. When you are failing at something, it actually means you are trying something new.

You are getting out of your comfort zone and doing something you are not familiar with. You won’t get what you are seeking immediately since there’s a learning curve attached to it, but you will if you keep plugging away.

Not failing is a bad thing. It means you’re not even trying. People who are failing are taking risks and operating outside their comfort zone.

We see failure and success as black and white, but they shouldn’t be. Failure and success are both processes and not events. You are either slowly getting better or worse.

Why do we need to fail forward?

It takes adversity to create success, and failure is a price you pay to achieve success.

A lot of times we envy people who are successful and have it made, but we don’t know their backstory. We don’t see the negative experiences they’ve gone through.

This famous quote by Michael Jordan comes to mind.

I’ve missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. Twenty-six times I’ve been trusted to take the game-winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.

Michael Jordan

We need to change our mindset towards failure and take responsibility if it happens. Making mistakes is part of the learning curve, but not taking a risk is not.

How to fail forward

Don’t let failure get to your heart and never let success get to your head. There’s an interesting story about the Wright brothers and Samuel Langley in failing forward.

Just about everyone has heard about the wright brothers the duo who motorized flight in the first part of the 20th century.

Prior to the Wright brothers, there was another man Samuel Langley who was well associated and had the dream team to create the heavier than air flying machine.

Langley was a respected scientist, thinker, and inventor. He had also published important works on aerodynamics and had achieved a high degree of success in his field.

He approached the U.S. War Department and was given a commission of $50,000 dollars, a huge sum at the time.

Langley with the aid of his team went right to work and in October 1903 his so-called Great Aerodrome was a great disaster.

The Critics came lashing at Langley and Langley took the failure badly. In 8 weeks he vowed to make modifications to the Aerodrome and would make sure it flies.

Again the wings snapped as the plane was launched and Langley was made to be a laughing stock yet again.

Failure had gotten to him and he was defeated and demoralized he abandoned his pursuit of flight and vanished without turning his lifelong dream into reality.

Just days later the Wright Brothers flew their plane over the sand dunes of Kitty Hawk.

Both Langley and the Wright Brothers faced innumerable challenges in their quest to flight. One gave up while the other got up and failed forward.

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

 John Maxwell


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top
Open chat
Hi👋, I'm Muthuraj if you have any queries regarding Muthusblog feel free to WhatsApp me!