Leadership Lesson: The Wisdom of FailureLooking back, as we approach another year end and tabulating whether my successes have been more than my failures. It’s clear that failure has left its imprint.
The hardest blow came in the form of failing a major exam. The pain was crippling. It did knock me out for a bit. But after all, how do you climb back onto the saddle when the horse has flung you off: when your plans fall to pieces? Life will constantly test your resolve and level of commitment.
If only we could have patience in the midst of our trials. Coping with rejection and apparent failure is a serious matter. The tragic death of John Kennedy Toole (American novelist born in 1937) screams this truth. No publisher would touch Toole’s book. He began suffering from paranoia and depression. In a vain attempt to kill the pain, he committed suicide at the age of 31. Toole's novels were rejected during his lifetime. However, posthumously, he won the Pulitzer Prize in 1980.
If you focus on positive thinking, even the harshest defeat is only a stepping-stone.
Never let Success get to your Head. Never let Failure get to your Heart. “I didn’t get consumed by losses,” said the legendary NFL coach Don Shula, “and I didn’t get overwhelmed by successes.”
Many of us have stifled our life by heeding some misguided critic who implied we were not good enough. Few things in life are certain but failure is.
Failure seems as something to be avoided at all cost. Although it leaves a sour taste, we should embrace failure for the learning opportunity it is. Failure is the oldest teacher, and perhaps the wisest of them all. Some things are impossible to completely grasp without first falling down.
We live in a culture that values perfectionism and failure is often viewed as a sign of weakness. People become so fixated on not failing that they never move forward. When it comes to failing, our egos are our own worst enemies. It's easier to accept failure in private, but once the failure is obvious to everyone around you, it's becomes harder to accept it. Holding onto failures for way too long is destructive.
The Importance of Failure
- It’s a learning Experience. Failure drives us to change. It represents opportunity and growth. It gives new direction. There is always one more lessons to learn in what you may see as a failure.
- It builds Character - we learn how to behave when we finally accomplish our goals. The humility we gain through our failures allows us to better handle and appreciate success.
- It makes you Stronger – it’s with persistence we overcome failure to achieve success . When people fail, they feel unaccomplished, and so they try again and again, until they finally reach success.
- Your chances of Succeeding Increases - Failures are the pillars for success. You gain experiences you could not get any other way. Some things can only be learned through trial and error.
- Failure is a type of Freedom. Why? Because the worst has happened. Now, you can relax and rebuild again.
Failure can be costly, not only emotionally but financially as well. Some industries are very unforgiving as one or more failures may instantly get you the boot. The worse thing anyone can do, is not learn from failures.
The fastest way to succeed,” IBM’s Thomas Watson, Sr., once said, “is to double your failure rate.” In recent years, more and more executives have embraced this point of view, that that failure is a prerequisite to invention. The growing acceptance of failure is changing the way companies approach innovation.
However, distinguishing between excusable and inexcusable failure is crucial. Managing failure is key. Some mistakes are unpardonable for example producing and marketing a dysfunctional product caused by poor quality control. Encouraging failure doesn’t mean abandoning or supervision or respect for sound practices. Managing for failure requires leaders to be more engaged, not less.
I would like to share 20 Powerful Quotes on failure
1. "You always pass failure on your way to success." ~Mickey Rooney
2. "A failure is a man who has blundered, but is not able to cash in the experience." ~Elbert Hubbard
3. "Failure is the tuition you pay for success." ~Walter Brunell
4. "Feeling sorry for yourself, and your present condition is not only a waste of energy but the worst habit you could possibly have. ~Dale Carnegie
5. "Success represents the 1% of your work which results from the 99% that is called failure." ~Soichiro Honda
6. "The season of failure is the best time for sowing the seeds of success.” ~Paramahansa Yogananda
7. "Success is not built on success. It’s built on failure. It’s built on frustration. Sometimes it’s built on catastrophe." ~Sumner Redstone
8. "Failure is the condiment that gives success its flavor." ~Truman Capote
9. "There is no failure. Only feedback." ~Robert Allen
10. "Remember that failure is an event, not a person." ~Zig ziglar
11. "Failure will never overtake me if my determination to succeed is strong enough." ~Og Mandino
12. "Its fine to celebrate success but it is more important to heed the lessons of failure." ~Bill Gates
13. "Do not be embarrassed by your failures, learn from them and start again." ~Richard Branson
14. "I can accept failure, everyone fails at something. But I can’t accept not trying." ~Michael Jordan
15." Every adversity, every failure, every heartache carries with it the seed of an equal or greater benefit." ~Napoleon Hill
16. "Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently." ~Henry Ford
17." My great concern is not whether you have failed, but whether you are content with your failure." ~Abraham Lincoln
18. "I am not discouraged, because every wrong attempt discarded is another step forward." ~Thomas Edison
19. "Never confuse a single defeat with a final defeat. "~F. Scott Fitzgerald
20. Our best success often come after our greatest disappointments. ~Henry Ward Beecher
Finally, don’t let the fear of failure hold you back.
Remember to take risks: if you win, you will be happy; if you lose, you will be wise. Always find joy in your journey for as George Bailey said it best “It’s a Wonderful Life!”
I wish you the very best in life, success and prosperity for 2015 and onwards.
I really appreciate that you are taking the time to read this post. Here are the other 9 Leadership posts I have written:
- 7 P’s Leaders use to Achieve Goals
- Don’t fall into these Leadership traps in 2015
- The 3 Pills every Leader should take
- Leadership...the art of Inspiring self
- 5 Deadly Sins of Leadership
- Leaders: Beware of Followers
- Life Lessons Successful Leaders wish they had learned earlier
- Are Leaders Born or Made? A True Story
- 5 Qualities of Truly Remarkable Leaders