Word Of the Week #58: Failure

April 22, 2009 by  

Failure: lack of satisfactory performance.

So the question is, do you see yourself as a success or a failure? Are you performing satisfactorily? If so, do you still feel like your not a total success.

I think success is a journey, not a destination. The Dahli Lama says, “Without pain and sorrow, there can be no joy.”

I take that to mean, without failure, there can be no success. Virtually every kind of failure can be corrected and learned from. Thomas Edison failed 10,000 times before he invented a satisfactory light bulb.

In 1879, Edison was asked how it felt to fail so many times. “I have not failed,” he answered. “I just found 10,000 ways that didn’t work.”

That is a great example of focusing on the positive instead of focusing on the negative.

“Failure is the condiment that gives success it’s flavor.”
                                     — Truman Capote

This week focus on savoring the journey on the road to success and knowing that failure is part of the recipe!

Reader Responses

“Things here are going along well, I am happy to see that you are doing well too. Thought for the day…………..What does it take to be the best? Everything. And everything is up to you…  Success is often just an idea away..  A man’s greatest battles are the ones he fights within himself. People in the same boat should help each other..  Have a GREAT day” — John Beck

“Failure is just as big a part of life as success. What I see with people is a fear of failure. If the most successful people in life had been afraid of failing, they never would have accomplished what they did in their lives. That particular fear makes people tentative in their lives. They are afraid to take that next step or the road less traveled because of not only the fear of failure but the fear of the unknown.  Unless we take that risk of possibly failing we will never know what we can accomplish or what road lies ahead for us. I always tell my three-year-old the four magic words: I CAN DO IT! And I continue to remind her that she can do anything. When I was trying to find a publisher for my first book, a friend asked: “Well, what happens if you don’t find a publisher?” My response: “I’ll publish it myself.” Since I did not have a publisher, all of my expenses – phone bills, travel, stationery, computer – all came out of my pocket. And, quite frankly, I was not making a lot of money back then. I did not have any health or dental insurance and did not get reimbursed for the use of my car at the job I worked. So, it was a big risk, but it was also a huge opportunity. I still get e-mails and phone calls from people about how important my first book was to them and how much they enjoyed it.  It also earned my respect from people in the business. But if I decided that it was going to be too hard and too much expense, I never would have attempted to do the book in the first place. Obviously, when I started the book project there were no guarantees that it would ever be published. In fact, the subject of my book, former Marquette basketball coach Al McGuire, did not think it had a chance to be published. After 10 years, it did get published and sold 12,000 books in four printings.  If people continue to live in fear of failure, they will never accomplish anything in their lives or even find out what talents lie within them. We don’t know what we CAN DO unless we take that leap of faith and that risk of failure. We are only here for a short while. If we don’t grasp the opportunities in front of us, then we will never know. Success and failure are two sides of the same coin. You can’t have one without the other. Abraham Lincoln had run for a number of offices and never was elected. He eventually became president. Your example of Thomas Edison is excellent. As Yogi Berra always said: “When you get to the fork in the road, pick it up.” Great word, Susan.” — Joe Moran