“I have not failed. I’ve found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” – Thomas Edison
Failure. Man’s biggest fear and what most try a lifelong journey to avoid. It’s not so much the event, but more so the sting and disgrace when it does happens. But who said temporary pain is always bad, in fact, what doesn’t kill you makes your stronger, or at least, that’s what they say. What most people do not realize is the bittersweet secret of failure may keep them from becoming truly successful. If it were not for failure, we would hardly see great success. Most people are not just lucky enough to get it right the first time.
With success books filling business best-seller lists, very little is ever mentioned about failure. I guess I could understand that failure does not make for glamorous conversational pieces.
With unemployment rates at an all-time high in the past few years, Corporate America is worried for their job. Sometimes it takes a closed door for people to finally get uncomfortable enough to take a chance.
Albert Einstein once said “you cannot solve a problem with the same level of thinking that created it.” Failure will wake you up to solve new problems by giving you a new level of thinking.
Why People Don’t Succeed
Fear is the strongest emotion of all. Most people will stay in their comfortable job dictated by the fear of failure. They might be sitting on the next big idea, however, their chance of failure, even if it was calculated risk, will keep them from making their dream become any glimpse of reality. The limiting belief of being failure-free not only keeps us from failing, it keeps us from succeeding.
Once we understand that we are totally responsible for our own actions or inactions, we can be motivated to take control. The biggest problem is that most people don’t take the time to define exactly what it is that you want. Fear is perpetuated time again when you’re unsure of what you really want. It’s easy to quit when you were never sure it was for you or not.
Napoleon once said, “he who fears being conquered is sure of defeat.”
Stay on Course
One of the greatest myths is that it takes only hard work to be successful. Before you jump out with the sharks, first figure out which pond you want to swim in. Perseverance is important, but bouncing back on the right track is even more important.
Our focus should be set in the right course that suits both our affinity and ability. Someone who is tone-deaf should not strive to be a professional singer no matter how passionate they might seem. Likewise, just because you have a special talent, without passion, you are quick to quit once the first major roadblock happens. Merge these coupling with right timing in the market and opportunity, whether given or created, and you found your sweet spot as an entrepreneur.
Virtually every goal is achievable once you start treating failure as a lesson learned instead of a dead end. Most people will end up quitting when they are just a few yards from the end zone without ever realizing how close they were. The most mentality of the most successful entrepreneurs is not if they will succeed, it is just a matter of how soon it will happen.
Learning is cognitive and experimental. The school of hard knocks will teach you more about business than any business school can. When both are being done simultaneously, peak learning is taken place.
“Nobody strives to be a failure. At the same time, there’s no better education for an entrepreneur than failure,” says Nicholas Hall, serial entrepreneur and founder of Startupfailures.com.
Personal development guru, Anthony Robbins, suggest that the ability to act through personal power is the foundation of success. That is what separates the great from the good. They are able to take action because they have unlimited themselves from the fear of failure and pushed forward boldly and strategically. Robbins teaches the principle of ‘CANI’ (constant and never-ending improvement) for life and business as part of your path to success.
The fear of failure can be overcome by anyone who changes his or her way of thinking. Treating failure as a lesson learned, instead of mistakes to be quickly forgotten, will get you in the right mindset to get started and will be able to make you do things beyond your present ability. Failure is part of success; those who try to avoid failure will avoid success.
I know personally for me, I’ve failed many times over before I was able to get it right. I had the focus and mindset that I was never going to give up until I finally made it. And it was that sort of perseverance was what has made me successful.
Some Pretty Big Failures
Thomas Edison who is considered one of the most prolific inventors in history, holding 1,093 U.S patents to his name. When he was a boy his teacher told him he was too stupid to learn anything. When he set out on his own, he tried more than 9,000 experiments before he created the first successful light bulb.
Walter Disney was American film producer, director, screenwriter, voice actor, and animator. Disney started his own business from his home garage and his very first cartoon production went bankrupt. A newspaper editor ridiculed Walt Disney because he had no good ideas in film production during his first press conference. The Walt Disney Company now makes average revenue of $30 billion annually.
Henry Ford’s first two automobile companies failed. That did not stop him from incorporating Ford Motor Company and being the first to apply assembly line manufacturing to the production of affordable automobiles in the world. His combination of mass production, high wages and low prices to consumers has initiated a management school known as “Fordism”. He became one of the three most famous and richest men in the world during his time.
Akio Morita, founder of giant electric household products, Sony Corporation, first product was an electric rice cooker, only sold 100 cookers because it burned rice rather than cooking. That didn’t stop him from trying. Today, Sony is generating $66 billion in revenue and ranked as the world’s 6th largest electronic and electrical company.