How Failure Breeds Success

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How Failure Breeds Success

“I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed”. Michael Jordan

Everyone fears failure. But breakthroughs depend on it. Successful people embrace their mistakes and learn from them.

Have you ever accomplished anything worthwhile that only required one attempt to get it right? I doubt it. My youngest daughter learnt about persistence when it came to riding a bicycle. She kept falling off. For a week it was a disaster. Despite all these failures, she kept climbing back on and trying again. Then suddenly off she went, into the distance, peddling her legs away. That was that, she could now ride a bicycle.

If you have had a baby you have seen that the process of going from crawling to walking involves lots of times of falling down. All of life is a learning curve, and you have to accept failures on the way. You just have to try again, till you succeed.

“There is no failure except in no longer trying. ” ~ Elbert Hubbard

Success is only forthcoming after episodes of failure. You probably already know the story of Thomas Edison and his 700 attempts with the electric light bulb. When he was asked how it felt to have failed 700 times, his response was “I have not failed 700 times. I have not failed once. I have succeeded in proving that those 700 ways will not work. When I have eliminated all the ways that will not work, I will find the way that will work.

“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that don’t work.” -Thomas Edison

This means that most successes are preceded by a number of attempts that don’t quite produce the results we were hoping for. Anytime we learn from our efforts we are in the process of succeeding. Each lesson brings us closer to our intended result.

If we allow ourselves to become discouraged during the process we may give up right before we reach our goal. How sad it would be to go through the learning curve and then never experience the benefits of our new knowledge.

“Failure is only the opportunity to begin again, only this time more wisely.”~ Henry Ford

You can have success day in and out, but I’ve found that to sustain the energy and enthusiasm that’s going to get you farther, you have to deal with more no’s then yes’s. Failure is a part of the process. You just have to keep yourself in the game. If you fail, you have to bounce back.

“All my successes have been built on my failures.” ~ Benjamin Disraeli

Don’t be discouraged by a failure in anything you do. It can be a positive experience. Failure is, in a sense, the road to success. It shows you the way not to do something , pointing out the error of your ways, which the next time of trying you will carefully avoid.

Here is my rule: There is a direct relationship between the number of different things you attempt and your likelihood of eventual success – so if you don’t first succeed try try again. NEVER GIVE UP!

“Success is the ability to go from failure to failure without losing your enthusiasm.” ~ Sir Winston Churchill

Every single one of us has experienced some kind of failure in our life and one thing that we can all be sure of is that we will do so again. Failures are part and parcel of life. The important thing is to know how to bounce back and recover when they occur. A lot of the problems which we encounter in our lives come about as a result of us not learning from the lessons which a certain setback or failure is trying to teach us.

Because we all want success so badly, we have a tendency to inflate the effects of failure. But failure isn’t the end of the world. You won’t die from it. With failure, you fail, you pick yourself up and you go on.

“Whenever you make a mistake or get knocked down by life, don’t look back at it too long. Mistakes are life’s way of teaching you. Your capacity for occasional blunders is inseparable from your capacity to reach your goals. No one wins them all, and your failures, when they happen, are just part of your growth. Shake off your blunders. How will you know your limits without an occasional failure? Never quit. Your turn will come”. Og Mandino.

As an example of never giving up … that persistence pays off … here is a joke for you.

One night, as a couple lays down for bed, the husband starts rubbing his wife’s arm. The wife turns over and says “I’m sorry honey, I’ve got a Gynaecologist appointment tomorrow and I want to stay fresh.” The husband, rejected, turns over. A few minutes later, he rolls back over and taps his wife again. “Do you have a dentist appointment tomorrow too?”

So there you are, if you don’t first succeed, try try again! You may get the result you are looking for.

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About the author: Larry Lewis
My name is Larry Lewis, Health & Wellness Life Coach, Founder of Healthy Lifestyles Living, contributor to the Huffington Post, recently featured in the Sunday Mail Newspaper and somebody who went from being an owner of a chain of gyms and fitness fanatic, to a visually impaired overweight and incredibly sick person. Read about my illness to wellness story.
18 Comments
  1. baldychaz May 16, 2011 at 5:51 pm

    I failed the first ever essay i had to write at Uni, was terrible at the time but i learnt and never failed another one 😉

    • LarryLewis May 16, 2011 at 9:26 pm

      Charles – the biggest mistake people can make is not learning from their failures

  2. sancheeta biswas May 16, 2011 at 6:18 pm

    “failures are the pillars of success”- read long time ago when i was probably in class 4. since then one thing i had in my that if i fail i know success is somewhere round me. i just need to try a little harder. your post has recapitulated my believe.

    • LarryLewis May 16, 2011 at 9:25 pm

      Sancheeta – you have made an awesome point. I believe that when you experience failure, you must carry on, keep trying, because success could be just around the corner.

  3. Alpana Jaiswal May 16, 2011 at 6:43 pm

    I have failed in my journey of life,I lost control over myself,I think that is failure,thankfully realized it in time..and now,I believe that I am a winner.My husband was ..is..in an affair,I blamed myself to be a failure in marriage,it has taken time,but I know,that it was not me,who was a failure..its him.

    • LarryLewis May 16, 2011 at 9:23 pm

      I learnt long ago to expect the unexpected. Our journey of life is a process, ongoing, where we experience both success and failure. In this journey you need faith in yourself and be strong to carry on this journey succeeding as you go, putting any failures behind you, once learning from them.

  4. Stuart Nager May 16, 2011 at 7:34 pm

    Hi..I JUST had a conversation on what constitutes failing/failure yesterday. It’s in your quotes: I firmly believe that the only true failure is to NOT try something, not ask someone out, not take a risk, stay in the conforming line when you KNOW deep down it’s not the right thing for you to do. That to me is failure.

    Do I make mistakes? Hell yes. Do I not hold myself to my own standards of what I expect out of myself? Sometimes, too often. Once I let go of looking at things as “failure” from someone else’s expectations of me (school, work, relationships, etc), I’m so much better off.

    When I err, do I learn from it? I try. I try not to repeat the error. But Failure? Only when I let the fear dictate my action from doing something.

    • LarryLewis May 16, 2011 at 9:15 pm

      Stuat – fantastic comment, thank you. I always say that i never want to look back and regret what i didn’t do. I do not have a ‘fear of failure’, but i may have a fear of not trying. Think if there’s something you want bad enough, you must try to get it.

  5. Jessica Brant May 16, 2011 at 7:51 pm

    Larry,
    So am I to gather from this piece. Because I did not reach an orgasm this morning I should try again and I will succeed. Well blow me over I think I will give it a goooooooooooo oh yessssssssssssss
    xoxox
    Jess

    • LarryLewis May 16, 2011 at 9:12 pm

      Jessica – as a coach, i enjoy being able to contribute to the lives of others in any way i can. I am delighted that my words were able to bring you to the point of personal satisfaction.

  6. Mary May 16, 2011 at 8:23 pm

    Larry, I have always measured my life by my failures. If everything came easy and we always succeeded, what on earth would we strive for? Living would be so very boring 😛

    • LarryLewis May 16, 2011 at 9:10 pm

      Mary – life is full of challenges, we win some, lose some. I take all my chllenges head on, every time i fail, pick myself up, wipe myself down, and try again till i succeed. You are right, life can never be boring with this type of attitude.

  7. charlie nitric May 16, 2011 at 10:07 pm

    Hi Larry –

    I appreciate your post on success and how you support the post with perfect quotes by some very impressive individuals. I love Michael Jordan’s quote about all his failures is the reason why he succeeds. I also adore Thomas Edison saying he doesn’t fail. He only proves many different ways that the light bulb won’t work. Amazing and simple thought processes that we (people) tend to never consider. Well written and a wonderful post! 🙂

  8. James Debono May 17, 2011 at 5:59 am

    I have to agree with you that it is very rare for anybody to get success without facing rejection first. The important factor is what we learn from each failure and how we put that new found skill into action to overcome the obstacle next time.

    • LarryLewis May 18, 2011 at 5:12 pm

      James – you are absolutely right. The sylvester stallone stoiry is testimant to that. Thank you for your comment

  9. Corinne Rodrigues May 17, 2011 at 1:34 pm

    Larry – I agree with you – I have learned many lessons from falling on my face – more than I learned from all the times when life was cruising along. Great post.

    • LarryLewis May 18, 2011 at 4:58 pm

      Corinne … the lessons we learn are our guide how to make everyday better than the one before. We just have to teach others that when they fall down, they have to get back up and keep going.

  10. Drask February 13, 2012 at 8:14 pm

    I love this post, its true that every failure is a step closer to total success! One thing to add though is that there is nothing more motivating than success after several failures, once you manage to achieve a goal and chase a new one the second one seems easier to get to, thats a loop that when you are in, you feel like no challenge is too big!

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