The Lessons of Failure

Someone once said,

Failure is not an option.

True, but it sure sucks to fail. This is a fact of life I am learning to accept and move through. Thankfully, I am surrounded by people who are great mentors in realizing failure is a good thing. However, I still struggle with the uncomfortable way it makes me squirm in my screwed up belief I not only let myself down but others as well. My sane side knows this crazy thought is fueled by perfectionism, making an impression and fretting about others’ perceptions, all things I am learning to grow up and away from. To help me get a better grip on this struggle and provide some inspiration, I decided to do some research on famous people who failed not just once but many times, never letting these diversions kill their dreams or stop their ambition to succeed. Here they are, with their thoughts on failure…

Oprah Winfrey: demoted from her news anchor job and told she was not fit for television.
“What other people label or might try to call failure, I have learned is just God’s way of pointing you in a new direction.”

Michael Jordan: cut from his high school basketball team for lack of skill.
“I can accept failure. Everyone fails at something. But I can’t accept not trying.”

Thomas Edison: his teachers told him he was too ‘stupid’ to learn anything.
“Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.”

Colonel Sanders: his chicken was initially rejected by 1,000 restaurants.
“I made a resolve I was going to amount to something if I could.”

Jerry Seinfeld: was booed by a jeering crowd the first time he went onstage.
“The best revenge is living well.”

Albert Einstein: did not speak till he was 4 years old and his teachers said he would never amount to much.
“In the middle of difficulty, lies opportunity.”

Walt Disney: told he lacked imagination and had no original ideas when he was fired from a newspaper.
It’s kind of fun to do the impossible.”

Steve Jobs: removed from the company he started when he was 30 years old.
“Sometimes life hits you in the head with a brick. Don’t lose faith.”

Eminem: dropped out of high school, due to struggle with drugs and poverty unsuccessfully attempted suicide.
“Look, if you had one shot or one opportunity to seize everything you ever wanted in one moment, would you capture it or just let it slip away?”

The Beatles: rejected by a recording studio that did not like their sound, telling The Beatles they had no future in show business.
“You won’t get anything unless you have the vision to imagine.” –John Lennon

Dr Seuss: 27 publishers rejected his first book.
“Think left and think right and think low and think high. Oh, the things you can think up if only you try!”

Henry Ford: his first business ventures all failed leaving him broke five times.
“Don’t find fault. Find a remedy.”

Bill Gates: Harvard dropout, failed at his first business venture.
“It’s fine to celebrate success but it is more important to heed the lessons of failure.”

Harrison Ford: told by movie execs he didn’t have what it took to be a star.
We all have big chances in our lives that are more or less a second chance.”

Charles Schultz: was rejected after applying for a position with Walt Disney.
“What if today, we were just grateful for everything?”

Steven Spielberg: rejected 3 times by the University of Southern California Theatre, Film and Television.
“I dream for a living.”

Vincent Van Gogh: sold only one painting during his lifetime.
“The key to success is for you to make a habit throughout your life of doing the things you fear.”

Babe Ruth: for decades held the record for the most strikeouts.
“Every strike brings me closer to the next home run.”

J.K. Rowling: on welfare while writing Harry Potter which was rejected by 12 publishers.
“Anything’s possible if you’ve got enough nerve.”

Stephan King: his first book, Carrie, was rejected 30 times.
“you can, you should, and if you’re brave enough to start, you will.”

John Grisham: his first book, A Time to Kill, took three years to write and was rejected 28 times.
“Don’t compromise yourself…you’re all you have.”

Yes, all of us, no matter what, will fail. Some will fail one time. Some will fail multiple times. Some will fail endless times. Regardless, one needs to get up, brush the dirt off each knee and

Find the

within. As Zig Ziglar said, “Failure is a detour, not a dead-end street.” So strike a match, ignite yourself, do the hokey pokey and when you get to end of the road, turn yourself around. All it takes is one spark and you too can conquer failure.



2 thoughts on “The Lessons of Failure

  1. Hey, let’s go out and fail!!! If there’s a chance that success will very possibly follow…and it often does!!!

    Thanks for the motivation, Annie.

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