Failure is the Best Path to Success
Of all the possible paths to success, failure is the best because it forces us to really believe in ourselves. It is the path that makes us resilient. Unfortunately, many of us abandon this path because we do not realize where it can take us. It always initially appears to lead us towards defeat; the end of something we worked hard to achieve. But appearances can be deceiving, and if we keep moving forward we would see that it was simply a bump in the road. A mere detour from our original path.
Why do we give up so easily?
Most of us try to avoid failure at all costs because we believe it reflects poorly on us. If we do not achieve the results we were expecting on our first try, we conclude that it wasn’t meant to be and move on. Even worse, some of us won’t even go after our dreams if they appear to be out of reach. This is because we have been conditioned to think of failure as a bad thing…something to be ashamed of. In reality, failure is simply a lesson on what to do differently the next time around. The more times we fail, the closer we are understanding what we need to do in order to accomplish our goal.
Far better is it to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure… than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much, because they live in a gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat. ~ Theodore Roosevelt
There are very few instances where we attempt to do something for the first time and get it right straight away. We often have to make several attempts and try it several different ways before it works out the way we want it to. What is interesting is that we don’t feel bad at all if we are not immediately successful at small things. Think about the first time you tried to ride a bike. How many times did you allow yourself to fall (fail)? Did you give up? If you’re like most of us, each time you fell you got up and kept trying until you got it right.
Somehow we are much less forgiving for the big things; the situations when we should expect to fall short until we work it all out. Perhaps this is because there is so much more at stake. Money and time have been invested, sacrifices have been made, and worst of all our reputation is on the line. So as soon as our “great ideas” start to fizzle, we quickly cut our losses, pack up our dreams, and move back to the safety of whatever it is we were doing before. This is so unfortunate because victory looms just beyond the horizon of our defeats.
We are all gifted
When we see others who have risen great heights in their chosen fields, we often assume that they must be “special” or “gifted” to have gotten where they are. We are all gifted in one way or another and the only difference between them and us is that they did not give up when the road became rocky. They held on to their vision and never lost sight of it. They had the determination and resilience to see their project through to the end, regardless of how many roadblocks they encountered along the way.
Some noteworthy examples:
- Abraham Lincoln ran and was defeated for more than ten political offices before becoming the 16th President of the United States
- J K Rowling was rejected by twelve publishers and was on welfare prior to becoming one of the richest women in the UK with the Harry Potter books
- Michael Jordan was cut from his high school basketball team before going on to become one of the most successful players in the sport
- Henry Ford had several companies that failed prior to starting the Ford Motor Company
None of these people allowed failure to prevent them from fulfilling their dreams. They understood that playing it safe only leads to regrets later in life, when you look back and see all the things you wish you had done if only you had been brave enough. Any of them would tell you how many times they wanted to throw in the towel —but none of them did. They accepted each defeat and pressed on with determination. And when the rest of the world labeled them a failure, they pressed on even harder, even more determined, knowing that success was coming soon. They understood that their failures were the very path leading to their success. And that made all the difference.