Clarity And Focus
Is failure a good thing or a bad thing? When does it happen? Should I avoid it? How does it work?
Failure provokes many questions and it’s common. Is there anyone who hasn’t been body slammed by its after effects?
Some think failure is synonymous with loser. Not a nice idea. Also not true. People who succeed greatly also fail badly.
In order to get through failure effectively, and use it to win rather than lose, we need to manage it like popular winners. The first step toward doing that is understanding what it is not.
Failure Is Not A Bad Thing
Failure is nothing to be ashamed of.
Henry Ford said:
Failure is the opportunity to begin again more intelligently.
He also said:
The only real mistake is the one from which we learn nothing.
Steve Jobs described his firing from Apple, an apparent failure, in a very positive way.
The heaviness of being successful was replaced by the lightness of being a beginner again. . .It freed me to enter one of the most creative periods of my life.
Say what you will. Think what you will. Point fingers if you like, but failure is common to us all, and viewed properly, produces moments of great clarity and focus. The kind of focus that wins.
Failure Is Not Inactivity
Yes, sitting around doing nothing is a bad thing, but it isn’t failure. Waste maybe, but not failure.
Failure requires effort. You can’t fail if you don’t try. There is a certain sense of dignity associated with the hard work of trying or training or planning or organizing to succeed in some endeavor, even if the effort fails.
A loser quits trying. Winners keep failing till they don’t. Winston Church said:
Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm!
He understood this principle because he lived it. He failed many times but never quit. He became a renowned winner.
Don’t waste away on your duff. Do something. Make an effort. Earn the right to fail. It’s the pathway to success.
Failure Is Not Avoidable
Some people are more cautious and because of that tend to fail less frequently. Maybe we could say they’re more clever. They learn failure’s lessons more readily, but the number of times one fails isn’t the issue.
The point is, everyone who tries fails. KFC’s Colonel Sanders practiced law but his career ended when he brawled with a client in the courtroom. He failed at or was fired from several other jobs before venturing into his famous fried chicken business.
He worked through failure and never became cynical about the possibility of success.
Failure Is Not The End
A career path is never a straight line progression. There are up moments and down moments. Like Colonel Sanders, whose CV included many completely unrelated jobs, there may be complete changes in directions.
The rule is, the progression doesn’t stop as long as you keep following the pathway, and the pathway never ends. Your projected fifty-year goal may be blocked but it always redirects. There’s always a new path to follow.
You could say, failure is inevitable but opportunity is automatic. As long as you keep moving through the juncture where failure and opportunity meet, you can eventually succeed.