In order to succeed, first you have to fail.
“What?” You might say. Bold statement, I know.
It seems strange to talk about the importance of failure in a post about success. You may feel somewhat cheated for clicking on this post, but bear with me.
It’s the very nature of the relationship of success and failure that makes the latter so influential in achieving success.
And therein lies the problem.
We want to believe that we can achieve whatever we set out to do right from the beginning. We don’t want to think about all the setbacks and all the obstacles. We don’t want to think about these things because, well frankly—it sucks.
It kills our motivation to think all that we’ve been working for might be for nothing, that we might have to start from the beginning if our plan comes tumbling down.
Kind of makes you want to give up, right?
But wait, hear me out. Before you give in to failure, have a look at these 3 quotes…
1) “I have not failed. I have just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”
2) “I have failed 99 times, but on the 100th time came success.”
3) “If things are not failing, you are not innovating enough.”
As inspiring as these quotes may be, they probably just came from any old average Joe didn’t they? Aren’t they just things unsuccessful people tell themselves?
This first quote is attributed to Thomas Edison. In his efforts to create the lightbulb, it’s claimed he failed 10,000 times before he finally achieved success with the idea. And now his invention brings light to billions worldwide.
That second quote? That’s Albert Einstein. One of the greatest physicists ever known, and the first to develop the theory of relativity which was used in the development of the very first TV sets.
And the third? That comes from Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla Motors, and one of the richest men on earth, with a net worth of 20.7B USD.
These quotes speak for themselves. Needless to say, these men have failed more times than some of us have even thought about trying.
The lesson here should be obvious—failure is not a prerequisite to success, but it’s pretty damn close. “I have not failed. I have just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”
The biggest failure lies not in lack of success, but in lack of even trying. We can learn from failure ten times what we can learn from success, and the sooner we can come to terms with this realisation, the sooner we can make real progress towards our goals.
So perhaps then we need to change our mind-set.
No longer should we think of failure as an obstacle, or a barrier to our success. Perhaps we should start thinking of failure as the one thing that will bring us the most success?
Maybe our goal shouldn’t be to avoid the towering mountain that is failure. Maybe instead of finding a way around it, we find a way over it. We attack the mountain head on, knowing that every step will be more difficult than the last. We keep going because we know at the end, we can be confident of one thing:
Once we reach the top, we will be higher than we ever were before. We will be stronger than we ever were before. And most of all, we will know the best way to climb the mountain the next time we encounter it.
We need to change our attitudes towards failure.
No longer is it a barrier to our success. No longer is it something to avoid. No longer is it undesirable. From now on, it is but a stepping stone to launch us further than we’ve ever gone before.
What’s your attitude towards failure?
This was a post written by Alex Moore