Everyone wants to succeed in life. No wants to experience failure. Because failure forces us to face certain facts that we are uncomfortable with. Failure compels us to take a deep look at our own selves, identify what we lack, challenge ourselves and master the necessary skills needed to succeed and then give it our best. Failure forces us to become better. Failure makes us learn. Failure makes us succeed. So in essence, failure is only an illusion that we are terrified of as it challenges our beliefs about our own selves.
There are lots of things you cannot control – the economy, the way others think or behave, the price of eggs, the Arab-Israeli conflict, Kim Jong-Un.
It would be easy to become so immersed in the number of items you cannot control that you forget what you can manage, and that would be YOU.
In a fear-based culture, there is a societal tendency to dwell on negativity… What if this happens and what if that happens?
People ruminate on negative possibilities. You might notice it if you watch the news (or even the day-time soap operas where everything is a tragedy).
Unpleasant events dominate and it becomes vogue to talk about problems and it is easy to transfer this victim idea to yourself – poor me. “Wasn’t it terrible what Claude did to Rumania? She deserves to get revenge.” “Life is such a struggle!” “Blah, blah, blah.” Eventually, with the preponderance of negativity, you get pulled down and feel lethargic, unmotivated, even depressed.
The negativity results in loss of focus, movement, direction, and energy BUT it doesn’t have to be that way. We have all experienced moments of loss or failure and it is the measure of a person as to how he responds to these. We can let each experience that turns out differently than we planned or expected to become a terrible tragedy. We can believe that with failure, we are losers. Or, we can deal with each experience (job, relationship, strategy, interaction) as an opportunity to pick ourselves up, learn something new, and take a different approach.
As Helen Keller said, “Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all.”
In other words, no one comes out of the shoot knowing everything. For all of us, life is an ongoing experiment.
Take note of the people who failed in their missions before they saw any glimmer of success.
1. Bill Gates is a prime example. Even though he is one of the richest people on earth, Gates had his share of failures. An example would be his first business called, Traf-O-Data, which crashed and burned. Undaunted Gates and his partner Paul Allen moved on to form one of the most profitable companies in the history of the world – Microsoft. Former President
2. Harry S Truman also failed in business. He and his partner Eddie Jacobson set up a hat shop in Kansas City. America was in economic decline at the time and the business failed to leave Truman owing $20,000 to creditors. Instead of declaring bankruptcy, he paid back all the money he owed. It took more than 15 years. It set his character. Truman was also defeated in his second term as judge in Jackson County, Missouri. Undaunted, he ran again and was elected Presiding Judge. Truman became known as a man of integrity. No doubt, his response to defeat fed into that reputation.
3. We are all driving cars right now because of the genius of Henry Ford. His global vision was that consumerism was the key to peace. He acted on that idea by creating methods of mass production of inexpensive goods, high wages for workers, and systematically lowering costs. All of which resulted in technical and business innovations, including a franchise system for Ford dealerships. Yet, along the way, he had his failures. His Detroit Automobile Company went out of business and the Edzel car was not a market success.
Each of these people did not let loss or failure get in his way. They saw each experience as a stepping-stone to the next one and got stronger, more creative and savvy as they went along.
- Albert Einstein failed in his college entrance exams
- Thomas Edison had numerous (thousands) of unsuccessful experiments before finally perfecting the light bulb and other inventions.
- In fact, Edison used his failures to construct his successes. In his mind, each “failure” illustrated what did not work so he could discover what did.
- Abraham Lincoln failed in business twice, was repeatedly defeated for public office and had a nervous breakdown. These are a few of his many challenges.
All of these people failed according to the facts. Yet, if you were to focus on their failures, you would never guess their impact on the world, which was far-reaching and profound. They literally changed we the way we live our lives. Gates, Einstein, Edison, Lincoln, Ford, and, indeed all successful people, refused to pay attention to their failures. They marched to the tune of their own drummers and lived their lives accordingly. They denied failure, refusing to let it define or stop them.