Failure and Courage
Failure can be a beautiful experience. Why? Because it provides us with an opportunity to develop courage. Or, as Confucius said, Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall. Anyone who has seen the movie Rocky can never forget the scene in which he continually rises after being knocked down in the ring over and over again. Bloodied and barely able to see, he continues to get up and stagger toward his opponent, while his manager shouts, Rocky, stay down! Stay down!
At one time we were all just like Rocky. As infants learning to walk we would just get up after each fall. We were courageous! What happened? Why did many of us change? Well, as infants, our parents encouraged us. That is, they brought out the courage that naturally resided in us. But as we grew and experienced the jeers instead of cheers of our peers, courage somehow got pushed into a corner of our psyche, and eventually we forgot ever having it.
Its time to say: I wont take it any more; Im going to reclaim my courage! The best way to begin is by realizing that failure is an event, not a person. In other words, if you were to try something new and fail 18 times in a row, you would not be a FAILURE, but a PERSON who has experienced 18 failures. Thats a big difference. So, if theres something you want to do and are unsuccessful, dust yourself off and try again! Remember, the only people who never fail are those who never try.
Success Means Never Giving up
What did Thomas A. Edison say after 10,000 unsuccessful attempts to develop his electric lightbulb? He said, I have not failed. Ive just found 10,000 ways that wont work. Edison realized that men do not fail; they give up trying. He realized that success means not giving up. Shouldnt we be following his example?
Failure is more than an opportunity to develop courage. It is also a valuable lesson. When we learn from our mistakes, we can avoid committing them again. Besides, to succeed in life we need experience, and we gain experience by making mistakes. Dont be disheartened by failures; after all, you dont drown by falling in water; you drown by staying there.
Before a missile can hit its target, it needs feedback. Each moment it drifts from the target, the missile detects the error and adjusts its path to realign with its destination. It continues to do so until the moment of impact. Failure is also feedback. It is a reminder that we must take corrective action before we can reach our goal.
We can rejoice in our failures because each one brings us that much closer to success. The great Babe Ruth put it this way, Every strike brings me closer to the next home run. Also, heres what Thomas J. Watson, Founder of IBM, had to say on the subject, Would you like me to give you a formula for... success? Its quite simple, really. Double your rate of failure. Youre thinking of failure as the enemy of success. But it isnt at all... you can be discouraged by failure -- or you can learn from it. So go ahead and make mistakes. Make all you can. Because, remember thats where you'll find success.
Which is better, to try something and fail or to try nothing and succeed? I think you will agree it is far better to try. Remember, there are three kinds of people: those who make it happen, those who watch it happen, and those who say, What happened? If we wish to belong to the first group, we have to take risks and try. So, lets start today by defying failure, learning from our mistakes, and forging ahead.
© Chuck Gallozzi
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