Most people love success and hate failure. It is rightly said that success has many fathers, while failure has none. However, very few realize that success comes only after successive setbacks and failures. Success comes only when people realize their mistakes and learn their lessons. Success comes when people fail differently instead of failing similarly.
Is Success Without Failure Impossible?
Success without failure is a mere impossibility. That means that true success comes out of several successive setbacks and shortcomings. Success comes from sacrifices and struggles. It comes out of hard lessons learned from failures. When we look at the top global companies like Microsoft and Apple Computers, we see that they had intermittent failures in their entrepreneurial journey. However, they learned what did not work for them and moved forward successfully. Hence, success without failures is impossible.
Success is not counted by the size of one’s initial splash. When you look at start-up companies, you see that most of them have initial failures. The failure rate among first-generation entrepreneurs is high.
Do You Act or React to Failures?
Life is full of highs and lows. When faced with lows, people often react to external distractions rather than act. If you react to distractions, it becomes a negative approach, and if you act, it is a positive approach. When faced with frequent failures, it is essential to lie low for a while, take feedback and then move on. An inability to do so results in further, frequent failures. Hence, be cool for some time and think things through, and then move on to avoid further disasters. Above all, never react to failures.
Is Failure a Friend or a Foe?
Like a good friend who corrects you and ensures your progress and prosperity, failure, if handled well, will serve you as a good friend in distress. Failures make you tougher, stronger, and wiser. When you face frequent failures, you will be able to handle them well, as you will develop an inbuilt mechanism to bounce back. Besides, failures prevent you from further falls as you tend to be more careful in your approaches and endeavors.
Do Leaders Often Fail?
Warren Bennis once said, ‘Around the globe humanity currently faces three extraordinary threats: the threat of annihilation as a result of nuclear accident or war; the threat of a worldwide plague or ecological catastrophe; and a deepening leadership crisis in most of our institutions.’ In addition, it is rightly said that leaders fail due to four reasons: lack of vision, poor communication, tolerance for organizational fragmentation, and character flaws.
Leaders often face more failures than followers, as they take more risks in their lives. They are more involved in decision-making and are meant to take decisions. As all decisions don’t result in fruitful outcomes, there is greater scope for failure. However, they know that failure is part of their business, and they take in their stride and move on. The followers, on the other hand, are more concerned about failures as they are not habituated to regular decision-making, as most of their time is spent in execution than in decision-making.
“Successful people don’t fear failure but understand that it’s necessary to learn and grow from.” -Robert Kiyosaki
Ronald Reagan rose from humble origins. He was a symbol of hard work, whose success was the result of having overcome hardships and challenges. In 1948 he was divorced from his first wife, Jane Wyman. He was not depressed. He failed in his film career. He did not lose heart. His contract with General Electric was terminated. He was unperturbed. He lost to President Gerald Ford in the 1976 primary campaign. It did not break his spirit. But Reagan learned several lessons from these failures and setbacks. Each failure made him tougher, stronger, and wiser and enhanced his determination to fight the odds that were stacked against him.
Reagan bounced back from each failure with tenacity and resilience. He was firm and determined to one day be the President of the United States. Most people know only about the cozy life that Reagan led, but they should learn that Reagan faced several hardships, challenges, and failures too. But he learned from each failure and bounced back like the Phoenix.
Hence, to be successful in your life, never say ‘No’ to opportunities. Always be prepared as opportunity may often come in disguise. Find out your core strengths and talents and develop skills and abilities around them. Set strong goals and face challenges head-on. Develop your own network and grow within the available opportunities, rather than blaming destiny or circumstance.
Here is a man who had seen only lows, not highs throughout his life. Here is a man who failed in all his endeavors. Here is a man who received formal education for only one year. He failed in his personal, professional, and social life initially. He was none other than Abraham Lincoln, who is a symbol of hope for people from humble origins.
Abraham Lincoln failed several times. He had failed as a storekeeper, postmaster, and lawyer, and ultimately succeeded as a politician. Of course, he faced innumerable initial failures in politics too. However, he learned his lessons from time to time, reinvented himself, and grew.
At last, the lessons he had learned throughout his life helped him become the President of America and evolve as a great leader who went on to win the Civil War, abolish slavery and restore America’s morale.
Lincoln is certainly one of the best American Presidents, who was emulated by successive American Presidents. Whenever the Presidents of America faced challenges, they would look towards Abraham Lincoln’s life for inspiration and leadership nuggets. If Lincoln had taken failures personally, he would not have grown as a great leader.
Failure is a Feedback
Failure gives you feedback. It helps you to take stock of the situation and realize where and why you failed. What are the reasons behind and causes of failure? Was it due to external or internal reasons? It makes you more humble as you learn to empathize from others’ perspectives. That is why God places challenges before people. Nobody can have consistent growth in life. There will be peaks and valleys in one’s life. This is what enables people to have excitement in their lives. Otherwise, life will remain boring forever.
God and Challenges
Challenges do not weaken us, but they do strengthen our willpower. Challenges do not keep us down forever, but bring out the best in us, as it is rightly said that adversity brings the best out of individuals. God helps us to grow through failures. God provides obstacles in our way so that we can overcome them. God tests our true characters by throwing several challenges along the way, as the true character of people is revealed only when they fail and fall. When things go well, any Tom, Dick, and Harry can blow his trumpet. However, real inner strength is revealed only when a man fails and falls.
Albert Einstein said, ‘I think and think for months and years, ninety-nine times, the conclusion is false. The hundredth time I am right. It’s not that I’m so smart, it’s just that I stay with problems longer.’ Failure indeed delays progress, but it teaches several hard lessons that people fail to learn from others. Failures are opportunities in disguise. It is unfortunate that modern society is intolerant of failure and does not provide another opportunity to prove oneself and succeed. Therefore, people must be careful to avoid failure and if it is thrust upon them, they must face it head-on and bounce back with tenacity and resilience by learning valuable lessons.