If by the age of 51 you have failed in business (twice), have had a nervous breakdown, have been defeated in 8 out of 10 major contests you entered can we conclude that you are a failure?
Well, not necessarily. You may have failed but you are not necessarily a failure unless you accept defeat and decide to throw in the towel. The only person who has never failed is the one who has never tried. Failure is the breakfast of successful people. It’s not the failure that matters – it’s what you do after you have failed.
I read that Thomas Edison tried over 10,000 different materials before he discovered the right material for the electric light bulb. Abraham Lincoln, taught us the value of perseverance (failing forward) when he became the 16th United States President after suffering major failure as outlined in my first paragraph above. Zimbabwe’s very own Strive Masiyiwa, Econet Holdings Founder, won the licence to operate his mobile phone company when most of us had written him off and it appeared all had been lost.
Failing forward is about learning from each failure and more intelligently beginning again. It’s about falling down and rising up without any loss of enthusiasm.
You see the picture of that child in the upper right hand corner. That’s Nick Vujicic when he was a baby. Nick was born in 1982 with a rare disease, tetra-amelia syndrome, a disability characterised by having no hands and no legs. Now that’s the height of failure, isn’t it? I mean with no limbs you have actually failed before you have even begun, right? Well, wrong ………… if you are Nick Vujicic that is.
As Nick’s life demonstrates ultimate failing forward is taking the most painful experience, interpreting it constructively and emerging with powerful transformation. You can find out more about Nick Vujicic from the links at the bottom of this article.
So yes you have failed because you have tried but you are certainly no failure ……. unless you give up.