“Do not be embarrassed by your failures, learn from them and start again.” ~ Richard Branson
“Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.” ~ Thomas A. Edison
“Winning is great, sure, but if you are really going to do something in life, the secret is learning how to lose. Nobody goes undefeated all the time. If you can pick up after a crushing defeat, and go on to win again, you are going to be a champion someday.” ~ Wilma Rudolph
An entrepreneur, an inventor and an athlete, emerging from varying life experiences with a shared perspective. They have learned that before the ultimate success may initially come several failures.
They are not alone, as some of the world’s most iconic figures had a long runway to traverse before they each skyrocketed to fame. They include: Steve Jobs, Milton Hershey, Walt Disney and Arianna Huffington.
Relationships end, businesses fall apart, folks change careers, students drop out of school, those in recovery relapse. These may be considered failures or they can be viewed as an opportunity for do-overs.
Consider a child who is learning to walk. Generally, at around a year old, he or she takes a first step. Most likely it will result in a tumble to the ground, with diaper padding cushioning the landing. If there are supportive adults around, clapping and cheering will occur. That little one is likely going to pull up again and take the next step. Nowhere in that child’s mind is the thought, “I’m so clumsy that I will never learn to walk and will scoot around on my butt for the rest of my life.”
This anecdote was shared by a friend and it stands as a testament to the power of paradox in the area of success and failure.
“Failure grooms us for success: I heard this incredible story the other day. That at a dinner table, a dad asked all his kids each night: “What did you fail at today?” And they would each recount their failures for the day. And he would celebrate them. He would always say: “Good for you! You tried something. You put yourself out there. That is the real success anyway. Keep trying new things. Don’t worry about how it turns out. Just keep trying, learning and growing.”
This counterintuitive approach to parenting encourages curiosity and expansion, rather than fear. This is a rare occurrence, as most view failure as an indication of character flaw, of inadequacy or incompetence.