Failure is the highway to success. Tom Watson Sr. said, “If you want to succeed, double your failure rate”. If you study history, you will find that all stories of success are also stories of great failures. But people don’t see the failures. They only see one side of the picture and they say that person got lucky: “He must have been at the right place at the right time”.
Let me share someone’s life history with you. This was a man who failed in business at the age of 21; was defeated in a legislative race at age 22; failed again in business at age 24; overcame the death of his sweetheart at age 26; had a nervous breakdown at age 27; lost a congressional race at age 34; lost a senatorial race at age 45; failed in an effort to become vice-president at age 47; lost a senatorial race at age 49; and was elected president of the United States at age 52. This man was Abraham Lincoln. Would you call him a failure? He could have quit. But to Lincoln, defeat was a detour and not a dead end.
Successful people don’t do great things; they only do small things in a great way. They succeeded in spite of problems, not in the absence of them. But to the outside world, it appears as though they just got lucky. All success stories are stories of great failures. The only difference is that every time failed, they bounced back. This is called failing forward, rather than backward. You learn and move forward. Learn from your failure and keep going.
In 1914, Thomas Edison, at age 67, lost his factory, which was worth a few million dollars, to fire. It had very little insurance. He said, “There is great value in disaster. All our mistakes are burn up. Thank god we can start a new”. Below are more examples of the failures of successful people:
- Thomas Edison failed approximately 10,000 times while he was working on the light bulb.
- Henry Ford was broke at the age of 40.
- Lee Iacocca was fired by Henry Ford II at the age of 54.
- Young Beethoven was told that he had no talent for music, but he gave some of the best music to the world.
Setbacks are inevitable in life. A setback can act as driving force and also teach us humility. In grief you will find courage and faith to overcome the setback. We need to learn to become victors, not victims. Fear and doubt short-circuit the mind. Ask yourself after every setback: What did I learn from this experience? Only then will you be able to turn a stumbling block into a stepping stone.
IF YOU THINK
If you think you are beaten, you are.
If you think you dare not, you don’t!
If you like to win, but think you can’t, it’s almost a cinch you won’t.
If you think you’ll lose, you’re lost;
For out in the world we find success begins with a fellow’s will;
It’s all in the state of mind.
If you think you are outclassed, you are, you have to think high to rise,
You’ve got to be sure of yourself before you can ever win a prize.
Life’s battles don’t always go to the faster and stronger man,
But sooner or later the man, who wins, is the man who thinks he can.
The greatest gift
Man, of all creatures, is physically the most ill-equipped in this world. He cannot fly like a bird, can be killed by a tiny insect, cannot outrun a leopard, cannot swim like an alligator, cannot climb the three like a monkey, doesn’t have the eye of an eagle, nor does he has the claws and teeth of wild cat. Physically, man is helpless and defenseless.
But nature is reasonable and kind. Nature’s greatest gift to man is the ability to think. He can create his own environment, whereas animals adapt to the environment. Sadly, very few people use the greatest gift – the ability to think – to its full potential.
Failures are of two kinds: Those who did and never thought and those who thought and never did. Going through life without using our ability to think is like shooting without aiming.
Life is like a cafeteria. You take your tray, select your food and pay at the other end. You can get anything you want as long as you are willing to pay the price. In a cafeteria, if you wait for people to serve you, you will wait forever. Life is like that too. You make choice and pay for the price.
Life is full of choices and compromises
There is a contradiction here. If life is full of choices, where is the question of compromises? Remember, even a compromise is a choice. Let’s evaluate this.
How is life full of choices? – When we eat too much, we make a choice to be overweight. When we drink too much, we make a choice to have a headache the next day. If you drink and drive, you make a choice to risk being killed or killing someone in an accident. When we ill-treat people, we make a choice to be ill-treated in return. When we don’t care about other people, we make a choice not to be cared for by other people.
Choices have consequences. We are free to make out choice but after we have chosen, the choice controls us. We have equal opportunity to be unequal. The choice is ours. Life can be compared to a pottery maker who shapes clay in any form he wants. Similarly, we can mold our lives into any shape we want.
How is life full of compromises? – Life is not just party and pleasure; it is also pain and despair. Unthinkable things happen. Sometimes everything turns upside down. Bad things happen to good people. Some things are beyond control, such as physical disability and birth defects. So if the ball bounce that way, sorry. But what do we from here; cry or take the ball and run? That is a choice we have to make.
On a clear day, there are hundreds of boats sailing in all different directions in a lake. How come? Even though the wind is blowing in one direction, the sailboats are going in different directions. What is the difference? It depends on the way the sail is set, and that is determined by the sailor. The same is true of our lives. We can’t choose the direction of the wind, but we can choose how we set the sail.
We can choose our attitude even though we cannot always choose our circumstances. The choice is either to act like a victor or victim. It is not our position but our disposition that determines our destiny.
It takes both rain and sunshine to create a rainbow. Our lives are no different. There is happiness and sorrow. There is the good and the bad; dark and bright spots. If we can handle adversity, it only strengthens us. We cannot control all the events that happen in our lives, but we can control how we deal with them. When things go wrong, as they sometimes will, we can react responsibly or resentfully.
Human beings are not like an acorn which has no choice. An acorn cannot decide whether to become a giant tree or to become food for the squirrels. Human beings have choices. If nature gives us a lemon, we have a choice: either cry or make lemonade.
A Little Black Pen and My Guest Writer: Sheera
TQP – Total Quality People
None of us works unless we have the right foundation, and the right foundation is TQP. What is TQP? TQP is total quality people – people with character, integrity, good values, and a positive attitude. For example, some customer service programs teach participants to say “please”, and “thank-you”, give smiles and handshakes. But how long can a person keep on a fake smile if he does not have the desire to serve? Beside, people can see through him. And if the smile is not sincere, it is irritating. My point is, there has to be substance over form, not form over substance. But keep in mind that they come a lot easier when accompanied by a desire to serve.
Someone once approached Blaise Pascal, the famous French philosopher and said, “If I had your brains, I would be a better person”. Pascal replied, “Be a better person and you will have my brains”.
The Calgary Tower stands at 190.8 meters. The total weight of the tower is 10,884 tons is below ground (approximately 60%). This shows that some of the greatest building has the strongest foundations. Just like a great so does succeed. And the foundation of succeed is attitude.building stands on a strong foundation.