Sometimes our greatest disappointments are the stepping stones needed to reach our greatest successes…
Develop success from failures. Discouragement and failure are two of the surest stepping stones to success. – Dale Carnegie
No matter how much we believe in ourselves, sometimes we get a bad break. We make a bad choice. We continually fail to complete that repetition. We fail at a venture. We are cut from our sports team. It happens. We fail. And in life, it is needed.
As Seth Godin points out, failure is essential to success. To fail means you are doing, you’re acting, and in his words, you are “poking the box” to make something happen.
This is better any day of the week than sitting idly by and talking about doing
Take for example, these individuals…
Adele. Fell in love and had her heart broken. Used the pain as fuel and inspiration for her album 21. Album won Adele a record-tying six Grammy Awards and she currently owns the UK’s 8th biggest-selling album of all time. Used her pain to fuel success.
Steve Jobs. Dropped out of college. Fired from Apple – the company he co-founded. Failed on multiple business ventures. Used the failures as a learning tool to build powerful properties such as Pixar. Hired back by Apple, Inc. and turned the technology company into the world’s most valuable tech group with a $351 billion market value before his untimely death in 2011. Never stopped learning and experimenting.
Henry Ford. Failed at his first two attempts to start an automotive group. Almost lost Ford Motor Company before turning it around into one of the world’s most powerful automotive groups. Determined to succeed.
J.K. Rowling. Rejected by 12 publishers for her story about a young magician named Harry Potter before a small London publishing house took a chance on her. Harry Potter went on to become the best-selling book series in history, selling around 450 million copies as of June 2011. Did we mention that she is now wealthier than Queen Elizabeth II? Kept knocking on doors despite the lines of rejection.
Michael Jordan. Missed over 9000 shots in his career. Lost almost 300 games. Failed to hit the game-winning shot 26 times. Went on to become a 6-time NBA Champion and 5x NBA Most Valuable Player. Went from being cut by his high school basketball team to the Greatest Player of All-Time.
The list could go on forever. Our greatest heroes and success stories come from those who have endured one failure after another – and kept fighting, kept moving forward, kept competing for their ultimate goal.
When faced with failure or disappointment, we have two options.
- Wallow in self-pity and accept what we feel is “fate.” We become afraid of failing, so we become “ok” with never trying.
- Commit to continue working toward your goal – brick walls be damned. These people stare fear into the face and press forward. Those that succeed in life are not deterred by rejection.
Failure becomes their jet fuel necessary to achieve success. Face the fear. Break through the wall.
Web Smith said it best: “Something happens when people refuse to quit….with enough will – what obstructs, destructs.” Refuse to back down from a disappointment. Let it be the gasoline to further ignite the fire in your soul.
Each of us has a life worth competing for. It’s about time we all started acting like it.