One of the more limiting factors in the achievement of success is the fear of failure. Why? People all too often internalize failure and say “I failed” or “I am a failure” as a general statement rather than seeing failure for what it really is—a single attempt at a specific goal that did not produce the desired results. Or my favorite definition, failure is falling down and not getting back up.
Think of an airline that fails to keep one of their planes in the air. The plane crashes killing over 200 people instantly. Does the airline give up and go out of business? Not likely. They pay the price for failure, learn from it, and move on. How do your failures in life compare with killing 200+ people? Think about this next time you are faced with failure and it will certainly help put things in perspective.
Just about all successful people have more failures behind them than their unsuccessful or even “average” counterpart. It is the act of persevering when others give up that makes winners stand out and whiners stand down. Failure is a positive force when seen as a necessary step to success. Failure becomes a negative force when seen as final or seen as a defeat.
Realize that from each failure, you can often harvest an equal or greater future success, and you won't look at failure the same way again. In most cases, if you make the effort to learn from your mistakes, the wisdom you get will be of far greater benefit to you. For example, if you fail to get that big account and your competitor succeeds, ask the would-be customer why? She will most likely give you priceless information that will allow you to close many more sales in the future. In this case, the failure (the one lost sale) resulted in future success (several sales) of much greater value.
Remember that the smartest, richest, most powerful, most influential, and most honorable individuals throughout history have failed more times than those who “played it safe” in life. Successful individuals welcome failure and learn to fail successfully.
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