Failure is a Necessary Ingredient for Success

Due largely to our experiences within the school system most of us are conditioned to have a bad relationship with the concept of failure. The kids who failed at school weren’t expected to be much successful in life and failure is associated with closely with shame and not being good enough. We however take this into adult life and spend all our efforts avoiding failure such that we have a good standing in our social circle and society. The avoidance of failure means we fail to start many and anything that has a chance of not working and the attendant shame.

“I have missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I have lost almost 300 games. On 26 occasions I have been entrusted to take the game-winning shot, and I missed. I have failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.” Michael Jordan

Hence, we all go into the employment market, where there is the security of various lines of management who are skilled and experienced enough to insulate us from chances of open spectacular failures. And from the comfort of our employment we watch hoping for the best but expecting the worst for any of our colleagues who grab their lives by the scruff of the neck and venture into entrepreneurship or other such endeavours that exposes them to a sink or swim situation and the attendant higher risk of falling flat on their faces and failing.

jordan

In my own few years working on building a business, I have experienced several failures from which I have learnt lessons I wouldn’t have otherwise learnt which have made me a better business person. I have attempted to get into markets that haven’t really worked, I have thrown money into marketing that was not targeted at the right audience, I have come up with service concepts that I thought will differentiate us in the market place that has failed spectacularly. But in the course of these failures, I have also seen successes and learnt over one hundred ways in which success cannot be achieved in my particular marketplace.

And from the comfort of our employment we watch hoping for the best but expecting the worst for any of our colleagues who grab their lives by the scruff of the neck and venture into entrepreneurship or other such endeavours that exposes them to a sink or swim situation and the attendant higher risk of falling flat on their faces and failing.

So, I have compiled below a list of 5 very famous people some of whom might be your heroes that failed, spectacularly during their rise to what you now appreciate

Henry Ford– Founder of Ford motor company and the man credited with democratising the automobile. The Ford Motor Company as we now know it was his third attempt at automobile manufacturing. He started Detroit automobile company, it went bankrupt in 1901. He started Henry Ford Company this also collapsed after a dispute with his business partner and angel investors came to rescue the ford motor company at the last minute before it’s closure.

The avoidance of failure means we fail to start many and anything that has a chance of not working and the attendant shame.

Orprah Winfrey– was fired from Baltimore TV station WJZ-TV for being too ‘emotionally involved’ with the stories she was covering. Orprah became rich and famous for exactly that, being emotionally involved with her stories and audience, becoming the richest woman in America at some point.
Walt Disney– Disney founded a cartoon studio aged 22, it went bankrupt due to a bad deal. He moved to Los Angeles to become and actor but failed. He founded Disney studios- during the 2nd world war. The US army took over Disney studios and his animators and Disney himself were sent to war. With a debt of $4million dollars at the end of the war, they couldn’t get finance in US and started producing feature films overseas, the rest is history. pexels-photo-42415.jpeg
J K Rowling– Author of harry porter started writing the book as a poor single parent suffering from clinical depression. The manuscript of Harry potter and the Philosophers stone was rejected by not least 12 publishers and even after it was accepted, her editor advised her to go get a day job as writing would make her any fortune. Rowling became the first person to achieve a billion-dollar income from writing fiction.

Michael Jordan– the number one basketballer was sent out of his high school basketball team. Jordan was keen to prove himself and went back to training rigorously and by sheer will power and effort became one of the greatest basketballers of all time.

From these examples, it makes sense that failure is almost a prerequisite to success. We must create and face up to chances to fail. Because every chance of real success in life is also a chance of real failure in life. If you keep keeping the stakes low, you will only achieve low level success, but if we raise the stakes, perhaps we may get the opportunity to outperform our own dreams.

Michael Jordan best sums up all I have been trying to say in this piece and so I will give him the final word on this. “I have missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I have lost almost 300 games. On 26 occasions I have been entrusted to take the game-winning shot, and I missed. I have failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”

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