I am sure that at sometime in your life you have heard about the failures of some very famous people. There is hardly anyone who has ever become famous or successful who did not first fail many times, in many endeavors, and in many different ways. A hard pill for us to swallow is the fact that failure is actually a gift. It helps us on our journey toward the success we so desperately want to achieve.
Someone once said that a successful person is one who tries one more time than they quit. That is another way of saying the same thing. We all are going to face failures and challenges in our lives. However, as long as we continue to try, learn from our failures, and never give up, we will eventually be a success. It is certain!
You have probably heard stories about Abraham Lincoln’s life. He failed perhaps more than anyone else that I know. I suppose that is why he is one of my heroes. He never quit! He just kept trying – one more time. Think at what point you would have given up if you had faced these challenges: 1832, lost job, defeated for State Legislature; 1833, failed in business; 1835, sweetheart died; 1836, had nervous breakdown; 1838, defeated for Speaker of the Illinois House; 1843, defeated for nomination to Congress; 1848, lost re-nomination after serving two years in Congress; 1849, rejected for Land Officer; 1854, defeated for U.S. Senate; 1856, defeated for nomination for Vice President; 1858, defeated again for U.S. Senate; 1860, elected President of the United States.
The first time I read that, I was shocked! Until I learned the principle that I am sharing in this Tip, I had not realized the difficult road Abraham Lincoln had traveled to attain his success. I had assumed that he just went to school, got his license to practice law, ran for office, and became President of the United States. I was stunned to learn the real truth of his life’s story! The fact that he did not quit in the face of all those challenges is what makes him one of my heroes. He learned that failure paved the path to success. He learned that he would be successful as long as he continued to try one more time than he quit. Although that happened more than one hundred years ago, nothing has changed; that principle is still firmly in place.
Another one of my favorite famous heroes is Michael Jordan. I once had a large poster of him on the back of my office door because of the quote written on it which said, “I have missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I have lost almost 300 games. On 26 occasions I have been entrusted to take the game-winning shot and I have missed. I have failed over and over and over again in my life and that’s why I succeed.” See what I mean? That is another great example of someone who tried one more time than they quit.
You have probably heard that Jordan was cut from his high school basketball team when he was in the 10th grade because he was not good enough to make the team. That may have been an accurate evaluation of his skills at that time, but certainly was not reflective of the basketball skills he eventually possessed. In other words, it took him time to learn from his failures and mistakes, but he never quit! He kept moving ahead in his pursuit of success.
This Tip is not rocket science. It is simply a reminder to all of us that regardless of what we are going through, failure is not optional. Rarely is there someone who sets out on a journey or an endeavor in life and hits the jackpot in their first attempt to succeed. Of course, there are exceptions to every rule. Perhaps there have been a few who were successful the very first time they tried something and have no idea what failure is all about. I know that it is possible and you may even know who that special person is, but I don’t. I doubt very seriously that they are the norm. They must be the exception to the rule.
Regardless of what you are facing this week, let me encourage you to not be afraid of failure. Failure is part of the process of becoming successful in whatever you do. If you are in a relationship, you may be hurt, but you may also find true love. If you own a business, you may go broke, but you may also become wealthy. If you are trying to do something you have never done before, you might fail, but you also might succeed and find happiness beyond your wildest imagination. Buckle up your seat belt; go for the ride; enjoy life; get in the game. Don’t be afraid to fail and watch success come your way – in time! As Joe Namath would say, “I guarantee it!”
Tip: Failure paves the path to success!
Have a great week! God bless you!
Dr. Robert A. Rohm