What is failure? How do we define it? In the dictionary failure has many meanings, it can be defined as a lack of success or one that has failed. I believe this is too broad a definition and I refer back to some of my previous posts where I talked about success. Success being different for each person means also that failure can be different for different people. I prefer to define failure as a necessary building block on the road to success. Very few people have immediate success when they begin a new venture. These powerful quotes will help you understand failure.
“Most great people have achieved their greatest success just one step beyond their greatest failure.”
“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”
~Thomas A Edison
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Quotes On The Meaning of Failure
We must come to understand that failure is important and necessary to succeed. Everything is a learning process and I like to refer to the process as a journey. We all start out on a journey with a full pack of food and gear. The first steps are taken on a nice comfortable, well-worn path and we are full of energy. At some point along the way, the path becomes overgrown with vines and covered in rocks. Our food supply begins to dwindle as our journey becomes more laborious. We don’t arrive at our destination before winter sets in and we have to turn back. Our journey is a failure.
We didn’t quit on our journey; we are just temporarily delayed. Our failure has presented itself as a learning lesson. Our journey will take longer and we need to begin earlier in the year before winter sets in. Most journeys to success follow the same path, begin, fail, learn, and begin again.
Check out these powerful quotes:
Failure is a detour, not a dead-end street.”
~ Zig Ziglar
“Mistakes are the portals of discovery.”
“What is the point of being alive if you don’t at least try to do something remarkable?”
“Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better”.
If you don’t believe that failure is part of the journey to success, look at some of these examples.
Author Jack Canfield’s manuscript was rejected by 144 publishers before he found one who would publish it. The manuscript was “Chicken Soup for the Soul.” It’s now been translated into 43 languages and published in over 100 countries. There have been more than 500 million copies sold worldwide.
“The problem is that most people focus on their failures rather than their successes. But the truth is that most people have many more successes than failures.”
Actor Jim Carrey dropped out of school at age 15 to help support his family. He was booed off the stage during his first comic standup. He auditioned for Saturday Night Live and was rejected. Later, he used the Law of Attraction, writing himself a check for $10 million for “Acting Services Rendered.” He kept the check in his wallet. Seven years later, he received a $10 million payment for his work in Dumb and Dumber.
“Life opens up opportunities to you, and you either take them or you stay afraid of taking them.”
What A Voice
Singer Katy Perry dropped out of high school after freshman year to pursue singing. She was dropped from three different record labels. She worked odd jobs until she was signed by Capitol Music Group in 2006 and became a commercial success.
“I just feel like I’m going to be criticized regardless of what I do next, so I might as well do something that I feel really passionate about.”
Henry Ford failed at two other automotive companies that resulted in bankruptcies. On his third try, with the Ford Motor Company, he revolutionized the automobile industry by pioneering the Model T and the assembly line. He is also credited with the concept of an automobile in every home and went on to sell over 17 million Model T’s.
“Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently.”
One of the biggest mistakes I believe we make in our society is not teaching children about failure. We plant the idea of perfection in their heads by saying things like, “don’t color outside the lines.” We teach that failure is a bad thing, children don’t learn how to deal with failure when it happens. This can put a lot of pressure on a young mind. Instead, let’s begin to teach children that failure is a steppingstone and to learn from it. Utilize failure in order to succeed.
“I can accept failure, everyone fails at something. But I can’t accept not trying.”
The pressure to never fail as well as our viewpoint of failure as a negative which are ingrained in us early in life translates over into adulthood. As adults, we operate and make decisions based on the input we received as children from our parents, teachers, religious leaders, etc. The thought that failure is to be avoided can at times provide us with an excuse to quit. We can believe that everything is easy and that whatever we attempt we will succeed in it every time. Whenever we don’t see that success, early on in the process, then we give up.
“It is impossible to live without failing at something unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived all, in which case you have failed by default.”
~J. K. Rowling
Most people don’t even attempt the difficult tasks that it takes to change because of fear of failure. I wrote in a previous article, “The Journey,” how I utilized my fear of failure to motivate me to graduate from The U.S. Army Airborne School and become an Army paratrooper. In hindsight, I should’ve gone into the training with the confidence that I was going to graduate as my motivator instead of fear. As young adults, we are constantly reminded to, “Have something to fall back on,” when we express our dreams. This one statement leads many people to give up on their dreams far too quickly.
“Failure isn’t fatal, but failure to change might be.”
The difference between average people and achieving people is their perception of and response to failure.”
~John C Maxwell
If everyone played it safe and always went to their backup plan as soon as things became too difficult, we wouldn’t have accomplished anything. We would have never landed men on the moon, personal computers would’ve never been built, and we would still be riding horses instead of in cars. It takes great risk and personal sacrifice for anything great to be accomplished.
When we devise a plan to come up with something great we are going to experience many failures along the way. One thing that I have learned about success is, we never know how close we really are to our goals. Many people turn back to their old lives right before they would’ve achieved a breakthrough. SpaceX endured many failures during its launch of unmanned rockets. They utilized every failure as an opportunity to learn and fine-tune the engineering as well as their process. They continued on and have recently made history by launching to humans from Earth and docking with the International Space Station.
“Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.”
In conclusion, the idea that I would like you to take away from this article is to get rid of your fear of failure. Embrace your failures, use them as a learning tool, and make changes to your plan. Remember that your goal doesn’t change, only your plan. With every failure you will find yourself one step closer to becoming the person you are meant to be. The only way you can truly fail at anything is to quit. Never quit.
Leave Your Thoughts
I would love to hear about how you overcame failures and used them in your journey. I hope I have inspired you and these powerful quotes will help you to overcome any failures. Leave a reply along with your quotes, advice, tips, or links to helpful groups or sites in the comments section below. If you have any questions or requests for topics I would love to hear them. If you like this post, click on the little star and feel free to share it with others it might help. As always, my posts are based on lessons I’ve learned throughout my life. I don’t claim to be an expert or professional therapist, I just play one on TV (some of you might get that joke).
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