Have you ever failed? Feeling bad about it? Blaming yourself for that? Blaming other people for that? Or Never failed in life? Has your product failed? Has your idea failed?
If your answer is yes, then this article is for you. If your answer is No, then this article is for you also. Since last few days I have been reading a book called ‘The Design of Everyday Things’ by Don Norman. People who have not read this book may assume that it maybe for Designers, maybe for web or graphic designers or product developers. Yes, this book talks about the fundamentals of the design principles of everything, everything you touch, everything you experience, everything you create or develop. Apart from that what I think this book teaches about the Psychology and can be a good read which will change your thinking about how we see the things around us and how we interact with them.
In one of the chapters, author is talking about Positive Psychology. Thought of sharing few paragraphs here with little editing. Hope you will find it interesting. And the author says about failures in life:
Just as we learn to give up after repeated failure, we can learn optimistic, positive response to life. For years, psychologist focused upon the gloomy story of how people failed, on the limits of human abilities and on psychopathology- depression, mania, paranoia, and so on. But the twenty-first century sees a new approach to focus upon a positive psychology, a culture of positive thinking of feeling good about oneself. In fact, the normal emotional state of most people is positive. When something doesn’t work, it can be considered an interesting challenge, or perhaps just a positive learning experience.
When need to remove the word failure from our vocabulary, replacing it instead with learning experience. To fail is to learn: we learn more from our failures than from our successes. With success, sure, we are pleased, but we often have no idea why we succeeded. With failure, it is often possible to figure out why, to ensure that it will never happen again.
Scientists know this. Scientists do experiments to learn how the world works. Sometimes their experiments work as expected, but often they don’t. Are these failures? No, they are learning experiences. Many of the most important scientific discoveries have come from these so-called failures.
Failures can be such a powerful learning tool that many human take prides in their failures that happen while a product (a project or any work or any situation in life) is still in development. One design firm, IDEO, has it as a creed: “Fail Often, fail fast,” they say, for they know that each failure teaches them a lot about what to do right. Designers need to fail as do researchers. I (Author) have long held the belief that failures are an essential part of exploration and creativity. If you do not sometime fail, it is a sign that you are not trying hard enough- you are not thinking the great creative thoughts that will provide breakthroughs in how we do things. It is possible to avoid failure, to always be safe. But that is also the route to a dull, uninteresting life.
The designs of our products (can be any kind of outcome of your work) and services must also follow this philosophy.
Few advice from the author, I think is worth reading and to be utilized while developing any product, or creating anything:
Do not blame people when try fail to use your products properly.
Take people’s difficulties as signifiers of where the product can be improved.
Eliminate all error messages from electronic systems. Instead, provide help and guidance.
Make it possible to correct problems directly from help and guidance messages.
Allow people to continue with their task: Don’t impede progress – help make it smooth and continuous. Never make people start over.
Assume that what people have done is partially correct, so if it is inappropriate, provide the guidance that allows them to correct the problem and be on their way.
Think positively, for yourself and for the people you interact with.
Please share your thoughts in comments.