Monday, July 19, 2010

Success and Failure

“Success is the ability to go from failure to failure without losing your enthusiasm.” – Winston Churchill

Looking back throughout history and in modern time we find the most successful people have one thing in common. They will usually be the first to tell you that true success is born from the frustrating passion of failure. Too often society looks upon failure as a complete loss or reason to never try in the first place. Some societies take failure so seriously that it may have life or death consequences. But is failure necessarily bad?

I’m going to stand with Churchill, Einstein, Confucius and many other brilliant thinkers who say that failure is but a mere step to success. Look at how many entrepreneurs have had multiple different businesses and projects before they hit the one that really embodies success for them! Each failure in life, whether it be in business, love, school, sports, or whatever is an important opportunity to learn a valuable lesson. The people who are truly successful are those who are able to culminate the lessons they’ve learned and find the value in them to offer back to society. This is much easier said than done which is why very few people end up in the proverbial winners circle so to speak. So what does it take to get there?

Short answer: It takes a LOT of willpower and determination to survive no matter what the outcome of each day. Willpower is the most important factor in success and dealing with failure but it seems to be one of the least talked about. Most life coaches and seminar spokespeople for success rarely focus on this important part of the human psyche. They always talk about methods, slogans, plans, steps, and guaranteed results. Little if any time is spent on the inner self and it’s relation to success. Like Churchill mentions in this quote, success is the ability to fail multiple times and still be passionate about getting back up and trying again. The problem is that failing is hard, and carries feeling of shame, remorse, inadequacy, and inferiority. When you pour your heart into something and it gets flushed down the toilet how do you replace that lost heart? I believe it takes willpower and determination to turn the hard lessons from every failure into the ungodly amount of courage, energy, and strength it takes to convince your inner self to try again. The people that make success look easy are the people who have figured out this is what needs to be focused on during reflection and not the specific actions you have taken.

By immediately assessing each setback or shortcoming for the lesson that pertains to YOU, and how YOU are going to solve it, you load your clip for the next round of battle so to speak. They say knowledge is power and there is no power like knowing yourself! If you learn how to react to upsets, chance bad luck, random accidents, and freak occurrences, in addition to your own mistakes, success is only a matter of a few chess moves away. The key is the inner response and having the will to keep playing!

This is not always going to be easy by any means but, it is achievable! The next time you disappoint yourself, do less than expected, or fail to meet your goals, don’t think of it as a bad thing. Think of it as an opportunity to learn for tomorrow. How and why EXACTLY did you fall short? At first this can be frustrating because it sounds so simple but in practice it’s a very difficult thing to do. The key is building the willpower, self discipline, and resolution to stick to it and keep fighting no matter how discouraged you get or how trivial each lesson is. They all have meaning of some form! You just have to convince yourself to find it when it seems hopeless or insignificant to do so!

Remember, the sad days of failure and hard luck make the first day of success all that much sweeter. How would we know the beauty of flowers without the ugliness of clouds and rain? With this in mind we can begin to accept failures as their own thing of beauty. It breaths life and vibrancy into the aura of success and makes it feel so much more rewarding and inspiring when a better day arrives! I will sum this up with a brief quote from Charles F Kettering, inventor, founder of Delco, and holder of 140 patents:

“It is not a disgrace to fail. Failing is one of the greatest arts in the world.”
Charles F. Kettering

Learning the art of failure is the key to success in this life!
Persevere my friends!

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