You’ve heard it over and over: “Learn from your mistakes.” Or maybe you’ve heard “fail early and often.” There are plenty of catchy quotes about failure. Most of them end with a clever little twist that makes it sound like it’s a good thing. Is it?

I don’t understand the cultural fascination with failure being the source of great lessons to be learned. What did you learn? You learned what didn’t work. Now you won’t make the same mistake twice, but you’re just as likely to make a different mistake next time. You might know what won’t work, but you still don’t know what will work. That’s not much of a lesson.

Instead, put most of your energy into studying your successes. What have you done right? What worked? Why did it work? How you can repeat it? Instead of making something worse a little better, how about making something good a little better? Don’t spend so much time looking down. Look up more.

There’s a significant difference between “now I know what to do again” and “don’t do that again.” The former being better than the latter.

It’s true: Everything is a learning experience. Good and bad, there’s something to be learned. But all learning isn’t equal. I’ve found that if you’re going to spend your time pondering the past, focus on the wins not the losses. The lessons learned from doing well give you a better chance at continuing your success.