Failure is the stepping stone for success Swallow defeat
23 Aug 2012, Vol 0 Issue 1
It's almost impossible to go through life without experiencing some kind of failure. Failure is a part of life; everyone has experienced failure at some time or other.
“Only a man who knows what it is like to be defeated can reach down to the bottom of his soul and come up with the extra ounce of power it takes to win when the match is even,” legendary boxer Muhammad Ali had once declared.
(To Read the Real Life Success Story of the founder of Naturals, who bounced back after a failed venture that left him with a debt of Rs. 5 Crore, Click Here)
Yet the greatest barrier to success and one of the biggest fears in life that people have is - fear of failure. It is also the major reason that holds back people from realizing their full potential and achieving their goals.
Failure is the stepping stone to success (Photo: FreeImages.com/ Christopher Bruno - for representational purpose only)
Fear of failure immobilizes you, restricts you to your comfort zone, prevents you from moving forward in life and hampers your chances of success.
Defeat is not easy to swallow. There is no worse feeling than facing failure. Failure leaves you bitter, miserable and depressed.
It is then not difficult to understand why most people are afraid of failing. They prefer to play it safe by restricting themselves to their comfort zone and avoiding any risks.
But playing it safe can also be risky. It puts you out of action. You choose to forgo potential opportunities and push yourself into mediocrity. When you restrict yourself to your cocoon, you keep yourself from tapping your full potential.
Failure is a matter of perspective. Many think failure as the opposite of success. But failures are in fact the stepping stones of success. Nothing worthwhile in life has ever been achieved without a series of failures. Failure is, as James Allen has rightly pointed out, one of the ‘pathways to attainment.’
Buckminster Fuller, the renowned American philosopher, architect, and inventor, popularly considered to be the father of American landscape architecture once said, “Whatever humans have learned had to be learned as a consequence only of trial and error experience. Humans have learned only through mistakes.”
Fuller has to his credit 28 patents; has authored 28 books and has received more than 60 honorary degrees.
Successful people also make mistakes. They also fail but they don’t give up. Instead they remain steadfast. They overcome their fear of failure and are quick to learn from their mistakes.
There are numerous examples of celebrities, sportspersons, actors, authors and leaders who inspite of facing defeat did not give up on their dreams. They succeeded in overcoming their fear of failure.
Michael Jordan was cut from the school basketball team; Steve Jobs was fired from his own company; Warren Buffet was rejected by Harvard University, Richard Branson is a high school dropout, Abraham Lincoln lost eight elections and Thomas Edison, failed more than 1,000 times when trying to create the light bulb.
Failure did not keep these great people away from achieving their goals and becoming extra-ordinarily successful.
As Emerson said, “Life is a series of experiments, the more you make the better. Each failure is a trial in an experiment and an opportunity for growth. Even if a failure costs you financially, the educational benefits can far outweigh the loss.”
Overcoming fear of failure is a major factor toward the achievement of goals. The highly successful people are not the most intelligent, most gifted or blessed.
They are just ordinary people who view failures as temporary speed breakers on the road to success. They are successful because they have developed the skill of learning from their mistakes and are willing to move out of their comfort zone and take calculated risks.
When you try, there is no guarantee that you will succeed. But if you don’t try, you are sure to fail.
So don’t let fear of failure hold you back from reaching out for your goals. The key to success is not avoiding failure but to overcome the fear of failure; learn from your failures and use them to build yourself up.
"Failure should be our teacher not our undertaker.
Failure is delay not defeat.
It is temporary detour not a dead end." –Denis Waitley
The Author is a Motivational counselor, Speaker, Ophthalmologist, and Author of 'Principles of Success Made Easy-14 Easy Steps to Climb the Ladder of Success'
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Have you ever heard the quote, “We learn from failure, not from success,” by Bram Stoker? I want you to read this quote a few times and think about its meaning for a second.
You may have heard that taking massive action is what gets results for people, but you still have trouble doing what must be done to progress towards your goals.
I’m willing to bet that if you have this problem, it is because you are worried about failing. This, of course, is understandable, especially when it comes to things like entrepreneurship.
You may be worried about what people will think or say about you if you fail, what kind of financial situation that would put you in, whether or not your self confidence would take a big hit, etc.
But, guess what, no one ever succeeds at everything on the first try. Failure is apart of life, as well as success. There is no success without failure.
You’ve probably seen this picture before that really illustrates what success is like:
It really illustrates it perfectly. You may be thinking that success is a straight line that is easy and perfect as soon as you get all the knowledge you need to take action.
You may think that if you just spend years preparing or learning about something before trying it, that you will succeed perfectly on the very first try. But, that isn’t how it works.
Trust me, I know first hand what it is like to think success will come easier for me than it did for others. I learned the hard way, just like countless other entrepreneurs that this isn’t the case.
Success Is Like A Checklist
You have to go through this checklist through process of elimination to figure out what will work the best for you.
This is just like how Thomas Edison tried 10,000 different ways to make a lightbulb and failed every time until he finally got it right.
The longer you wait to start crossing off things that don’t work, the longer it will take to see your goals and dreams be fulfilled. But, don’t get me wrong, education is extremely important to this.
By educating yourself on a daily basis, whether you are reading related books, listening to audio lessons, watching how-to videos, etc., you will be able to eliminate certain things without trying them.
If you are doing something that has never been done before, like Thomas Edison did, you won’t find too much education on what works or what doesn’t.
But, for most goals, you will reach them faster by not fearing failure and instead welcoming it as a learning experience that gets you closer to your desired end result.
“We Learn From Failure, Not From Success”
This quote by Bram Stoker really just means we need to not focus on eliminating failure from our lives (which is impossible), but focus on looking at it differently as a learning experience or just another bit of knowledge needed to reach success.
To get the best results and reach your goals, my best work has come from gaining a little knowledge everyday on the subjects I’m looking to succeed in and taking action on every theory or concept that could potentially work.
Fearing failure is not an option if you want to succeed my friend. You need to learn from your and others’ failures to correct course along the way.
Stop seeing failure as a negative outcome, and start trying to see it as a positive piece of education you have gained, allowing you to eliminate another option on your checklist, like Edison did as he progressed towards changing the world.
What does the quote, “We learn from failure, not from success” mean to you?
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I'm an entrepreneur, fitness freak, artist, car enthusiast, sports fan and self improvement addict. My goal is to help people be their best and create incredible businesses that change the world.