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Grow from FAILURE!

“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!’

The above statement of Michael Jordan reflects beautifully the attitude of ‘never give up’! Time and again we have heard that it is not how one falls, but how one gets up again that counts towards one’s success. Failure is often viewed as the opposite of success, and refers to the state or condition of not meeting the desired outcome. However, I look at FAILURE as “Free Again to Innovate and Learn Until Reaching Excellence”! Here’s how…

One of the first stories I remember hearing about a never give up attitude is that of a king, who, after his kingdom was conquered by his enemies, absolutely exhausted and de-motivated, went into hiding in a forest wherein he saw a tiny spider attempting to climb out of a crevice. The crevice was too steep and too wide for the spider and the moment it made two steps forward, it just slipped one step backwards. It looked like it could never reach the top. However, the king noticed that the spider didn’t give up. It kept slipping, but kept keeping on… until it finally reached the top of the crevice on its way to its freedom. Seeing this, the king suddenly felt free too! Motivated, he gathered his few troops and, marched against his enemies and saved his kingdom. Sometimes, when one fails, one needs to realize that they are free from the earlier attempts, to start again, all fresh and anew!

We have all heard the wonderful adage “try try again till you succeed!” However, what we do not realize in history is that every scientist who has tried again and again has not tried the same way again and again. For example, let us say you are walking on a road and there is a big rock in the way that blocks your path. You can’t pass. Now, the next time you walk, would you walk the exact same path again? Or would you walk around the rock or find a way to move it or change the path itself? We would obviously do one of the latter. Hence, when one fails, it is not that one has to simply try again, however one has to analyze what happened and creatively try another method. One needs to learn and innovate!

Martin Luther King defined excellence as ““If a man is called to be a street sweeper, he should sweep streets even as Michelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music, or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well.” Excellence can be attained only through continuous learning after learning through failure after failure. Though everyone fears failure, those in search of excellence embrace their mistakes and learn from them for further growth an implementation. An entrepreneur may in fact regard failure as a very positive experience: as a prerequisite to success, a chanced discovery, a profound teacher, a future value-adder, a provider of new direction, an enhanced motivator, a path to achievement and even as a relieving liberator towards excellence.

We’ve been taught from an early age that failure is a bad thing. When we do poorly on tests, we receive a failing grade. When a business goes bankrupt or dies, it is said to fail. We were constantly reminded every day that failure is something negative. But today, most entrepreneurs and scientists and business leaders are starting to understand the positives of failure! History is adept of thoughts from various scientists such as Thomas Watson who said “If you want to succeed, double your failure rate” and Edison who said “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work”.

In today’s scenario, failure is such a common occurrence it should come to be expected. So, ensure that you develop thicker skin if failures and setbacks seem to bother you. It is very important you learn from every failure and that the same failure isn’t repeated or experienced twice as this could lead to unnecessary waste of time and money and even possibly fatal mistakes. Thus, choosing to look at FAILURE as “Free Again to Innovate and Learn Until Reaching Excellence” means that even though each idea we try may not work, it still would help to bring us that much closer to an idea that does. To that end, experiencing failure becomes a very essential and necessary step in arriving at success.

Remember, when you fail next, choose to innovate!
You have the power!
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Published in ‘The Hans India’ newspaper on 15th Sept 2011

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October 6, 2011 - Posted by | The Hans India Newspaper | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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