Failure is the Pathway to Success
There are many pathways to success—failure is just one of them. Unfortunately, many of us leave this path too soon because it is far more difficult to follow than the path of mediocrity. Most of us try to avoid failure at all costs because we believe it reflects poorly on us. If we do not immediately experience the results we were expecting, we give up. Even worse, some of us won’t even try something if the risk of failure seems too high.
The reason we think of failure in a such negative light is simply because we have been conditioned to do so. We’ve been told that it is a bad thing, something to be ashamed of. In reality, failure is simply a lesson on what to do differently the next time around. 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. Think about the first time you tried to ride a bike or tried a new recipe. You didn’t give up, did you? No, you made adjustments and worked on your process until you got it right.
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
We don’t feel bad at all if we are not immediately successful at the small things we attempt, but somehow the big things, for which we logically should not expect instant success, we expect to do perfectly right away. When they don’t pan out we quickly we pack up our dreams and move back to the safety and security of our comfort zone, not realizing that we were exactly where we needed to be to learn what we needed to learn. The idea is to keep going, using the lessons from every defeat to fine-tune your project. If you can keep moving forward, regardless of how impossible it may seem or long it may take, you will be rewarded with success.
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. Actually, the only difference between them and you is that they did not give up when the road became rocky. 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 of this are:
- Thomas Edison made over 1000 attempts to invent the light bulb before he got it to work
- 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, more determined, knowing that success was coming soon. They trusted that failure is the pathway to success. And that made all the difference.