Clarity for Aspirational Women in Business & Life Transitions.

Embracing Failure: A Powerful Tool for Success



57When we were children, we were not afraid to fail.  We failed countless times at walking, talking, riding a bike, tying our shoes, and many other important tasks.  But we were resilient and never gave up.  We embraced our failures and changed our approaches until we achieved our desired result.  Why is it that now, as an adult, so many of us are afraid to fail?  Do you see failure as a part of the process of achieving success or an evil to be avoided at all costs?  As in childhood, we must embrace every failure, because each one brings us closer to our desired outcome.

Embracing failure means we accept that things did not turn out the way we wanted them to.  We make peace with it and realize that this is an important part of the process.  We then analyze exactly what went wrong and plan our next attempt.  Was our effort lacking or was it the timing of our attempt?  Was it our process or do we have to rethink our idea to begin with?

Don’t wallow and get upset with yourself over a failed attempt.  This is a waste of time and only drains your energy.  Many times our self-worth is tied into our accomplishments so tightly that with every failure, we lose a bit of it.  We then stop trying, because there isn’t any self-love left to support our attempts.  Your effort is only one factor into why an attempt failed and has nothing to do with you as a person.

Don’t fall into the trap of trying to avoid failure.  Too many of us live lives that are robotic and predictable in an effort to control our environments.  These strategies are doomed and continue into a downward spiral until our spirit of determination and adventure is broken.  Instead, sit down and brainstorm on what changes need to be made.  Sometimes you have to change your entire approach in order to achieve success.

Listen to your heart.  I know my heart is not really into something when I give up too easily.  So I advise you to search your heart for what you truly desire and focus on attaining it no matter what obstacles come your way.

Be bold!  Your life is to be lived, not managed.  You live by testing the limits of your imagination.  All great things were birthed from past failed attempts.  Imagine how close you are to your own amazing success.

To inspire you, below are 5 famous failures:

Abraham Lincoln, received no more than 5 years of formal education throughout his lifetime.  When he grew up, he joined politics and had 12 major failures before he was elected the 16th President of the United States of America.

Thomas Edison developed many devices which greatly influenced life in the 20th century.  He is considered one of the most prolific inventors in history, holding 1,093 U.S. patents to his name.  When Thomas Edison was seeking to invent the electric light bulb, he didn’t get it right the first 9,000 times.  A young reporter boldly asked him if he felt like a failure and if he thought he should just give up by now.  Perplexed, Edison replied, “Young man, why would I feel like a failure?  And why would I ever give up?  I now know definitively over 9,000 ways that an electric light bulb will not work.  Success is almost in my grasp.”  And shortly after that, and over 10,000 attempts, Edison invented the light bulb.

Albert Einstein was a theoretical physicist widely regarded as the most important scientist of the 20th century.  He was awarded the 1921 Nobel Prize for Physics for his explanation of the photoelectric effect in 1905 and “for his services to Theoretical Physics”.  However, when Einstein was young, his parents thought he was mentally retarded.  His grades in school were so poor that a teacher asked him to quit, saying, “Einstein, you will never amount to anything!”

John Grisham‘s first novel was rejected by sixteen agents and twelve publishing houses.  He went on writing and writing until he became best known as a novelist and author for his works of modern legal drama.  The media has coined him as one of the best novel authors of the 21st century.

Soichiro Honda was turned down by Toyota Motor Corporation during a job interview to be an “engineer” after World War Two.  He continued to be jobless until his neighbors starting buying his “home-made scooters.”  Subsequently, he set out on his own to start his own company, Honda.  Today, the Company has grown to become the world’s largest motorcycle manufacturer and one of the most profitable automakers – beating giant automakers such as GM and Chrysler.

Making your mark on the world is hard.  If it were easy, everybody would do it.  But it’s not.  It takes patience, it takes commitment, and it comes with plenty of failure along the way.  The real test is not whether you avoid this failure, because you won’t.  It’s whether you let it harden or shame you into inaction, or whether you learn from it; whether you choose to persevere.

Barack Obama

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2 responses to “Embracing Failure: A Powerful Tool for Success”

  1. Bruce Lynn says:

    Fine treatment of a rich topic. Anyone interested in delving deeper into this subject, I have been blogging on it for several years:

  2. What a wonderful post! What is great about this, we all know it but we never remember it. I loved hearing about the Honda company.

    Valuable post!

    Iyabo Asani

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