Failure is a Mindset
The binary nature of the software industry reveals more clearly those who are set to achieve their goals and those who don’t have any goals at all.
As I work on a daily basis with all different kinds of engineers, it becomes clearer and clearer to me two very interesting mindsets that almost overpowers most of the engineers in this industry.
These mindsets are the failure mindset, and the learner mindset.
But learning in and of itself isn’t enough if it’s not combined with the passion and zeal that triggers more attempts to either learn more, or finally achieve the goal.
In the software business things either work or don’t and that makes it very clear whether the design and development and all the efforts involved were fruitful or not.
Never in the history of software businesses has a client agreed to pay money for a non-working software, and the less-techy clients are, they seem to be more focused on the goal, more than some of the developers who are making the product themselves.
Let’s talk about the failure mindset.
There are symptoms that clearly shows an engineer who’s plagued with a failure mindset from an engineer who doesn’t.
The Blame Game
A failure mindset likes to blame everyone around for not achieving their goals. They’ll blame the technology they are working with, or the people who invented the technology, or the team they are working with, or anything, or anyone they can find to blame for not achieving their goals.
But a person with a failure mindset never blames themselves for not trying again — trying harder and differently.
Victimizing themselves. People with a failure mindset never try to overcome the obstacles they are facing because blaming it on someone else (even if it was rightful) is the easier route to not having to handle the task at hand.
But on the other hand, it causes not just a delay on delivering a product, and not just a cost of time and effort and funds on the project, but it has an even deeper impact on the team and the overall morale for everyone.
I say it has a negative impact on the team because a failure mindset wouldn’t be a source of inspiration and perseverance for others. In fact, it sometimes infects others to settle for failure and find excuses to blame the world for that failure, but themselves of course.
This mindset that shows a person trying to learn and grow, not afraid to fail and try again and again — who doesn’t really care what people say and who surely doesn’t try to hang it’s errors on others, and takes full ownership and responsibility for mistakes and has the courage to stand up and correct the errors.
A failure mindset has no purpose, no goals, nothing to chase and no dreams to catch.
People with failure mindsets live a whole life, maybe 60, 70 or 80 years and they have impacted no one’s life, including their own.
They have contributed nothing to world other than providing manure to fertilize the land, and even then, animals seem to do a better job at manuring the land than those with failure mindsets.
Because they had no goals or purpose to achieve and even if they did, they didn’t try to make it happen. It was easier for them to simply say: life is hard and settle for nothing, and nothing they become.
People who work jobs they hate, are purposeless. They waste their energy complaining instead of trying to change the status quo and work with what they got to create a better future.
When in Rome
A failure mindset lives with no principles. It’s one and only goal is leech off of the world, and work whatever job is available rather than trying to build a career.
In the engineering industry, a mindset with no principles will violate as many rules as they can, and cut as many corners as they could, to just be done with the day, and not have to deal with the consequences of not delivering a task.
In this industry it becomes so clear so fast those who properly name their variables, extract their methods and document their code from those who are just employees They don’t think of engineering as a craft, but more like a job that pays money and that’s all, That’s it for them.
I’ve seen people switching patterns, best practices and technologies just because the job pays more, but not because they think it’s the right thing to do. And not because they foresee any growth or learning opportunities in that.
Money is very important, but when one has a purpose, money because a side-effect of healthy learning, growing and achieving mindset rather than being a purpose in and of itself.
Lack of Passion
A failure mindset produces a lack of passion. Passion is what triggers the mind to try again, and do more and think differently to achieve its goals.
You can see the lack of passion in many simple actions, such as a general indifference, showing up late to every meeting, giving half answers to every question and having no opinion on any matter.
Spending as little time as they can to accomplish a task, and working just hard enough not to get fired. Because not getting fired is their end goal, just keep paying me, they would say.
Showing up late and leaving early, no heart in what’s being developed and no thought in what’s being designed, it’s just a job, they would say.
A failure mindset knows it’s not living up to it’s full potential. And that’s why it’s unhappy, sad and depressed.
They bring that negative energy to everyone working with them, downplay others achievements and see the negative side of every attempt to achieve more and do more.
Bob Ross said: “You do your best work when you do a job that makes you happy”
But how can one find a job that makes them happy if they are not trying?
Let’s talk about the learner mindset!
A learner mindset could come from a failure mindset, we’ve all been in a place where we lost hope, passion and were confused by what we need to do next, trying to find our place in the world.
But changing a failure mindset requires a strong will, a solid intention and an actionable plan to change one’s life.
It all starts with finding one their purpose, what they were meant to do. And that requires a trial and error with as many careers as possible out there.
I’ve seen people do the oddest of jobs with passion. They earn and help the poor and make the best of what they have. They do what they do so well that people think it’s easy but it’s really not.
A learner mindset is a trial and error junkie. It never quits, surrenders and gives in to the status quo.
It inspires and teams with others and brings life and happiness to those with whom they work.
It sees the bright side of every attempt, and wishes for the best in every trial and sees the positive in every error and learns from it.
It encourages others to do the same, tries to open their eyes to see the horizon of achievement and success, tries to be the best for the team, not the best on the team.
A leaner mindset doesn’t just get the job done, it gets it done right, with passion, and heart and hope to do even better, even when the world is happy with what’s already achieved.
Because a learner mindset never stops believing that it can get more out of something, learn more, make it more, make it the best, and the best of the very best!
People with learner mindsets are the people who changed our world from what it was thousands of years ago to what it is today. They are our hope to find the best cures for our most stubborn diseases, prevent our worst disasters and inspire our wildest dreams.
They take us to the moon! They get us to our beloved ones faster. They connect us with each other and help us be healthier smarter and more hopeful for a better tomorrow.
They look at the impossible and see … I’m possible!