FAILURE, THE MOST DARING AND INNOVATIVE TEACHER

“Winners are not afraid of losing. But losers are. Failure is part of the process of success. People who avoid failure also avoid success.” – Robert T. Kiyosaki

So, I was reading the article, “50 Famous People Who Failed at Their First Attempt at Career Success” re-posted by Bud Bilanich on his site, www.budbilanich.com

With  names spanned across different categories of famous people from business gurus, scientists, inventors, Hollywood types, public figures, writers  all through to musicians and athletes, I was super shocked to find out names of people who actually made it after experiencing failure a few times. I mean names like Oprah Winfrey, Walt Disney, J.K Rowling (author of novel series, Harry Potter), Harrison Ford, Bill Gates to mention but a few.

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Personally, I always saw these people as a success from the beginning. I never imagined they experienced failure a few times before becoming house hold names in the world today.

Coined from the article, I never would have thought that Oprah Winfrey with the charisma about her, was at one time at the beginning of her career, “fired from her job as a television reporter because she was “unfit for TV”” or Walt Disney, “fired by a newspaper editor because, “he lacked imagination and had no good ideas”” or even Elvis Presley (God rest his soul) who back in 1954 (when he was a nobody) was “fired by Jimmy Denny, manager of the Grand Ole Opry after just one performance telling him, “You ain’t going nowhere, son. You ought to go back to driving a truck.””

This really goes to show as the quote says, “when life gives you lemons, make lemonade”. Don’t just suck them dry and throw them away. Life as we know it isn’t all cosy and rosy. Alongside its comforts, it also comes with thorns and bristles and this is what makes it interesting – the opposites:

Happiness – Sadness

Laughter – Tears

Success – Failure

Joy – Pain

……and the list can go on forever.

There are so many journeys we undertake in this singular journey of life and these we would discover as we look deeply at the various chapters or phases in our lives though we may not see them as journeys because we have named them differently – GROWTH, PROGRESSION, DEVELOPMENT, IMPROVEMENT, ADVANCEMENT, MATURITY etc.

In every lesson life teaches us irrespective of the situation or circumstance, the moral of every experience is to grow. When faced with challenges and we fail on the first few attempts, life doesn’t expect us to quit or keep taking that route.

Failure teaches us to be creative, try another approach and then another until we succeed and when we make it, we feel this sense of victory, fulfillment and satisfaction. Life doesn’t keep teaching us the same lesson over and over again because we have learnt the objective of that topic. 

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Instead it moves on to perhaps a more difficult lesson because the higher you climb, the more challenges you face.

I want to believe that even life knows that we have the capabilities to overcome difficulties and break barriers and that is why it keeps pushing us until we surpass our limits and boundaries and bring forth the very best of us.

I guess that is why it is said, “It is not over until it is over”.

Life is like a game. You do not take it too seriously and get lost in its maze. Naaaa….the word is “caution”; the word is “simplicity”.

More often than not, if you take a look at your past mistakes, you discover the reason you missed it in the first place is because you didn’t apply either of these words mentioned above.

The answer to whatever the situation was might have been in plain sight but we figure the answer might be in being all too serious and not even taking time to relax and breathe. Hence, we miss it.

This brings me to the quote by David Frost, “Don’t aim for success if you want it; just do what you love and believe in and it will come naturally”. People who love what they do, take things quite easy almost without stress because no matter how challenging the task gets, they would always find a way out.

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It is their terrain. It is what they love and because of the passion they have, they always find a way out whenever they are stuck.

Beautifully put in the article, “10 Reasons Why Some People Love What They Do”, on www.forbes.com, David DiSalvo writes, “But people who love what they do never fully lose sight of the challenge and the sense of purpose that drives them; they fight their way back toward it no matter how murky things get because it’s the very thing that gets them up in the morning”.

Such people don’t fail and then relax on their oars….Oh no, sir, they get up and try again. They keep trying till they get it. I guess that is how Thomas Edison successfully invented the light bulb even though his teachers had at a time told him “he was “too stupid to learn anything”. He was fired from his first two jobs for not being productive enough, and had 1,000 unsuccessful attempts at inventing the light bulb” – www.budbilanich.com.

If life throws bricks, stones and sticks at you, do you get hit once or twice and then give up in anger and defeat or do you learn from the first one or two hits and begin to build yourself a nice shelter so that at its completion, you no longer need to dodge more bricks or sticks because you are now within the comfort and security of your shelter?

Take the bricks, stones and sticks as the defeating and demoralizing comments you get from other people and sometimes even you condemning yourself. You don’t see Oprah taking heed to the words “unfit for tv” or Walt Disney paying attention to the words, “lack imagination and had no good ideas”. No! Those words were the stones on which they climbed to reach the peak of success.

The day you stop listening to that silly condemning voice in your head or that of other people, is the day you begin to succeed. Wayne Dyer said, “How people treat you is their karma; how you react is yours”. You are great at what you do. Just stop dilly-dallying in a forte that isn’t for you. Find your niche and excel in great proportions.

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Again, David DiSalvo said in his article, “People who genuinely love what they do don’t allow others to talk them out of it”. That you fail in many attempts doesn’t mean you are a loser. This is your terrain. This is something you love and have passion for…..my dear, explore it. Failure is an awesome and excellent teacher because it teaches you from your experience.

Yes, others may share their experience with you and you may learn one or two things but it is almost always better when it is your own mistake and you learn from it. This is because you know the route you took and the beautiful flowers as well as thorns you found along the way. If you decide to try another course and you still encounter same flowers or thorns, now you know which to avoid and which to use.

Life is that simple.

Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. Make lots of it so that when you eventually get it right, you wouldn’t even for a second doubt yourself. Instead you would be super proud of you and your achievement.

I guess that is why sometimes parents are advised to allow their children learn from their own mistakes because when you try to teach them with your own experience, they think you may be exaggerating and are trying to control them.

When they delve in and feel the pain you were trying to protect them from, then, they know and understand better because it isn’t just stories to them anymore. They have experienced it hence the saying, “experience is the best teacher”.

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We can do any and everything we set our minds to. It’s just that we sometimes find it much more convenient to hide behind the phrase “I CAN’T” when in actual sense, you can but just won’t.

We would rather hide behind sympathy or more like pity, “If only I could”, “I just can’t”, “I tried but it is simply not possible”. What did we try? How did we try? How many attempts did we make before concluding that it isn’t possible?

This is us setting limitations for ourselves all because we are sometimes too lazy to even want to try or even if we do, to even want to push further or sometimes giving in to self-doubt. Thomas Edison said, “Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work”.

Sure, it’s not going to be easy. In fact it never is.

Remember, good things don’t come easy. Working at something and succeeding at it, gives you a lot more satisfaction than when you just get it easily like on a platter of gold.

Knowing that you had to sweat, have sleepless nights brainstorming, made sacrifices of your favorite TV shows or games or giving up hanging out time with friends and at the end the sacrifices paid off, makes the success story sweeter to tell.

We have to learn to push our limits because there is a lot more to us than we know.

Criss Jami said, “The harder you fall, the heavier your heart; the heavier your heart, the stronger you climb; the stronger you climb, the higher your pedestal.” Don’t set your goals on other people’s ideology or what they think. This is your life and your success story.

It should be more about what you think. Every person you meet along the way are your helpers and if you like, angels to guide you. At the end of the day, it’s all about you.

So try, try and try again until you get it. No matter how many times you fall, pick yourself up, shake off the dust, take a shower if you must, put a band aid on that scratch and start up the ladder again.

The one mistake you would make and regret for the rest of your life is to fall and remain on the ground. Do not let situations roll you over as though you were dough to be flattened to make a pastry snack. Never play or accept the role of a victim and seek out a pity party.

Even if you get a few sympathies, don’t for a second think that it gladdens the heart of others to wait on you and pity you. They would rather celebrate you and with you. Trust me, I know this because I have experienced it.

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I was really sick for a while and had pity parties. While sometimes I tried to be strong and be as active as everyone else, at other times, I just gave in to the fact that I was sick and had “supposed” limitations.

Yes, my family and friends were sympathetic to my plight, but I could tell that they enjoyed been around me more whenever I was active, smiling and playing as against other times when I was moody and just giving in to the pains.

Stop wailing and complaining about how bitchy and cruel life is and all the hurts you have had to endure. Your whining does no good either to you or the world. Break that cocoon and step out. Your existence is and was never a mistake. You were born for a purpose. Seek it out and fulfill it.

Do not think for once that the goodies of life would be handed down to you on a platter of gold. You have to work for it.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow said, “The heights by great men reached and kept were not attained in sudden flight but, they while their companions slept, were toiling upwards in the night.”

No man is an island. We need each other to survive. Shove off your cloak of pride and ask for help if you need one. Do not see every offer of “help” as a “show-off” from someone else.  Accept it and use it.

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The moral in this lesson about failure which life teaches us, I believe is not in succeeding alone. The story makes more sense in the acknowledgement of the help received from others because no one has all the knowledge and truthfully, sometimes, the help others give may just be that missing gizmo you have been looking for to complete the task or achieve the goal.

I love this quote – “…You can do something extraordinary, and something that a lot of people can’t do. And if you have the opportunity to work on your gifts, it seems like a crime not to. I mean, it’s just weakness to quit because something becomes too hard…” ― Morgan Matson, Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour.

Working on your gifts may include learning from others too.

So, my dear one, go out there and make a difference. Someone said, “It’s not your fault if you are born in the gutter but it is your fault if you die there”. In agreement with this quote,

Stop blaming your parents for not giving birth to you in affluence. Now is your chance to rewrite the story. You work hard and succeed so that you can give your children a better future.

Every transformation more often than not gets worse before it gets better. Never accept failure as a defeat in life but as a teacher showing you better ways to succeed. See failure as a stepping stone to greater heights.

You can and will make it. Never be a limitation to you. Push past your boundaries and you will be amazed at your capabilities.

So, how has your failures helped you become a better and more successful you?

4 thoughts on “FAILURE, THE MOST DARING AND INNOVATIVE TEACHER

  1. Hey just wanted to give you a quick heads up. The text in your
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  2. for me there are 2 options. Win or Learn. Failure is not an option. NO for me means next opportunity (NO) the word really doesn’t exist in my vocabulary and it should be same for all … Good write up well done.

    1. I so love your meaning of “NO”. It actually summarizes my whole write-up… NO – Next Opportunity. This is awesome. Thanks so much Christie. Failure doesn’t really exist if we critically look at it. We are only just provided with another opportunity to do things in a better way. Again, thanks so much for your comment. Much appreciated.

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