Success and Failure

     Recently, during meditation, I thought about the fine line that sometimes separates success from failure.  The difference could be timing, people we meet, books we read or, as I believe, guidance that comes to us through the grace of God - or, as Linda and I often phrase it - help from our Guardian Angel.

     This prompted me to sit down, take a sheet of paper, draw a line down the middle and on one side start listing the things or events that, in my opinion, were “successes”, achievements or accomplishments in my life and on the other side “failures” or  times that I fell short of gaining the results I wanted.  It ended up being a very interesting experiment which I recommend to you.

     I believe we have to learn how to fail in order to succeed.  When people speak of a “fear of failure,” they are really describing a hazy free-floating malaise and feeling of worry or discontent which induces lethargy and explains lack of effort.  This malaise protects us from the anxiety that comes with freedom and taking risks.  We tranquilize our lives by limiting the amount of anxiety that we experience by not trying anything new or different that might fail.  Whenever we attempt to do something and fail, we end up doing something else or producing something else.  You have not failed; you have produced some other result.  The two most important questions to ask are: “What have I leaned?” and “What have I done?”  Of course, sometimes we hesitate to act due to a fear of success.

     Failure is only a word that human beings uses to judge a given situation.  Instead of fearing failure, we should learn that failures, mistakes and errors are the way we learn and the way we grow.  To succeed in business or life, we must continually take remedial actions.  Putting oneself on the line day after day can be extremely draining, especially when things do not work out as we desired.  Many of the world’s greatest successes have learned how to fail their way to success.  It might help, each time we face a disappointing event or undesirable out come to remember some of the many famous, fabulous failures. So - for the next few blogs I’m going to share with you some of my favorites.

     Michael Jordan - after being cut from his high school basketball team,because of his “lack of skill”, he went home, locked himself in his room and cried.  Of course, later he single-handedly redefined the definition of NBA superstar. He once said, “I have missed more than 9,000 shots in my career.  I have lost almost 300 games.  On 26 occasions I have been entrusted to take the game winning shot, and I missed. I have  failed over and over and over again in my life; and that is why I succeed.”

     The Beatles - were rejected by Decca Records who said, “we can’t use their sound; they have no future in show business.”

     Walt Disney - was fired from a newspaper for “lacking imagination” and “having no original ideas.” He started his own business from his home garage and his very first cartoon production went bankrupt. During his first press conference, a newspaper editor ridiculed him because he had no good ideas in film production.

     John Grisham - before being coined by the media as one of the best novel authors in the 21st century, had his first novel rejected by sixteen agents and twelve publishing houses.

     Get the idea?  Check back next time for some more examples of failures - or were they?

t the la     © Dick Caldwell 2012