Ever heard the aphorism that says “Success is failure turned inside out”? Indeed outstanding individuals, inventors and entrepreneurs know this and so they don’t toy with it. They know that for you to hit good success you must have hit failure.
Wouldn’t it then be right if we said that success is the opposite of failure?
If you’re like most people, you probably have a bad perspective of failure, either in business or relationships. You see it as an ending, as proof that your plan didn’t succeed or your ideas weren’t good enough. The truth is failure happens to everyone.
Let me tell you something a brief history about me. Am a Nigerian, and being a blogger is not rosy or easy at all. Many people have tried and failed while attempting to become a blogger. I personally have lost more than $20,000 since I started blogging, still am striving and working hard towards being a successful and internationally recognized blogger. Last year November, I contacted a web designer from my locality who was supposed to help me launch and design my other blogs, he collected $600 from me, and disappeared. After much research about him he was known to be a scam, this is one of the worst business set back one could face. Despite all this challenges I did not resign to that fate and call myself a failure, instead I pushed forward and worked harder to achieve success at the long run.
The only thing that separates people who succeed from those who don’t is a proper understanding of the power of failure Success requires that you learn from mistakes and missteps along the way rather than falling into despair and giving up.
Here is why Failure is imperative in achieving success;
1. Failure Is Born Out Of Trying
The best way to measure your progress at something is the number of setbacks and “failures” you’ve had. If you haven’t failed yet, chances are you aren’t trying very hard. Failure is the vehicle to ride on your way to success. If you want to get really good at something, you have to fail at least a few times.
If you look at all the great men and women throughout history, you’ll notice that they had one main thing in common. They failed, and they failed often. Henry Ford knew of failure intimately. To the extent that he is quoted for saying the following: “Failure is the opportunity to begin again, more intelligently.”
Clearly, failure represents opportunity and growth, not deficit and loss.
2. Success Lies In Seeing Failure as a Tool
Just as all the greats have something in common, so too do the true “failures” of life: their inability to use failure as a tool. When you feel that sinking, desperate sensation known as failure and you take it to heart, you diminish yourself. You give your power away to an external event. Success is about learning how to recognize why you failed, and how you’re going to compensate for it.
3. Failure Builds Character
If you look at the events leading up to any significant victory, you’ll often discover failure as the biggest motivator. Success can also come in small chunks, and they’re part of any winning strategy. On the other hand, waiting years upon years for something to happen isn’t effective when you can take action now.
Let’s take a look at Abraham Lincoln who endured a steady stream of failure and defeat before becoming President of the United States. Born into poverty, Lincoln was faced with defeat throughout his life. He lost eight elections, twice failed in business and suffered a nervous breakdown.
He could have quit many times – but he didn’t and because of this he became one of the greatest presidents in the history of America. Lincoln was a champion and he never gave up.
Here is a sketch of Lincoln’s road to the White House:
1816: His family was forced out of their home. He had to work to support them.
1818: His mother died.
1831: Failed in business.
1832: Ran for state legislature – lost.
1832: Also lost his job – wanted to go to law school but couldn’t get in.
1833: Borrowed some money from a friend to begin a business and by the end of the year he went bankrupt. He spent the next 17 years of his life paying off this debt.
1834: Ran for state legislature again – won. (Success)
1835: Was engaged to be married, sweetheart died and his heart was broken.
1836: Had a total nervous breakdown and was in bed for six months.
1838: Sought to become speaker of the state legislature -defeated.
1840: Sought to become elector – defeated.
1843: Ran for Congress – lost.
1846: Ran for Congress again – this time he won – went to Washington and did a good job. (Success)
1848: Ran for re-election to Congress – lost.
1849 Sought the job of land officer in his home state – rejected.
1854: Ran for Senate of the United States – lost.
1856: Sought the Vice-Presidential nomination at his party’s national convention – got less than 100 votes.
1858: Ran for U.S. Senate again – again he lost.
1860: Elected president of the United States.
His experience is enough motivation for you to pursue what you are passionate about because only this makes life worthwhile. When you bite off more than you can chew, you had better chew it. The successful man or woman may fall 7 times, but they get up 8times (ancient Chinese saying).
You may make multiple attempts to change careers, lose weight, have a successful relationship or improve an existing one, business not going so well, your blogs not getting enough traffic or not even earning money after several months of working, running out of debt and barely pay your rent due to tax… it doesn’t matter. Just keep working at it. Do NOT give up. For giving up is the only sure way to fail in any endeavor.
I once heard the story about a man who needed a chunk of the rock. He went to the rock with a very big hammer.
On the first day he couldn’t crack the rock, let alone break it. He went back the second day to no avail and this continued till the tenth day. On this day, with little or no hit at all on the spot, it crumbled. The lesson therein is that you never give up no matter how many times you fail.
Success occurs in leaps and bounds for people who are ready for it. To genuinely create value, day in and day out, requires determination, purpose, and most of all, that subtle yet all-important trait known as character. Failure is a far better personality builder than any affirmation or fleeting goal. While each success will propel you by a small amount, failure will force you forward to a large extent.
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