A man can fail many times, but he isn’t a failure until he begins to blame somebody else.
– John Burroughs
Failure is frustrating, it’s an embarrassment and it’s depressing and demoralizing. But it is also inevitable. That is if you are living your life planning to succeed. No one can truly succeed by living within a safety zone, doing the sure thing, never risking or taking a chance. Success exists only where failure is a real possibility.
People who succeed do so against the odds. They don’t choose the well trodden path, they don’t follow the crowd and they don’t bet on the sure thing. There has to be an element of risk if there is truly a pay-off in the end.
Here are some simple ideas associated with failure and risk that are worth examining. If you are making a decision about what to do, or not to do, consider these things:
- Make sure the risk is worth the reward. Successful people take risks but they know what the reward is and calculate that it is bigger than the risk involved.
- If you fail, understand why you failed and take the opportunity to take corrective action to avoid that same mistake again. Doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results is a form of insanity. The more accurately you analyze your failure, the faster you can turn it into a success.
- Don’t blame others or the situation. If you habitually do that you will never succeed. A young man came into our business with all the trappings of success – the skills, the attitude and the drive. And he was, at first, very successful. But he had one flaw and that flaw finally brought him down. He did not take personal responsibility. He blamed others for his failure and finally quit in disgust. Less than two weeks later one of those people he blamed for his lack of success began to work and six months later started producing the volume that would have made that young man thousands of dollars. And they continued to do so month after month after month. He quit just shy of real success.
- Accept that if your failure is due to you and something you are or are not doing – then change what you are doing. One of the saddest phrases is “I can’t change.” Or “You can’t teach an old dog new trick.” Any statement that accepts that you are who you are and can do nothing about it will condemn you to perpetual failure. “I can’t sell.” “I never was good with people.” “I will never learn this or that.” These are all affirmations of failure and will prove themselves to be true. Unless an affirmation is one that creates success in your life – DON’T SAY IT! Even to yourself.
Someone approached me once about being in an article about business failure and how people rebounded. I said yes. The writer was very grateful because she was having a hard time finding people who would admit to and talk about their business failures. She asked, out of curiosity, why I had accepted to participate. In fact, it had never occurred to me not to and after I thought about it I told her “Because my failures have all led to my successes”.
Go out and embrace your life – that means both your successes and your failures. If you aren’t failing, you are likely not challenging yourself nor being the person and the success you could be. If you are succeeding, ask yourself “Could I succeed at a higher level?”
Live your life, don’t just exist!
To your success!