Failure plants the seed for future success. It’s no secret that for many, our worst fear is often failure. But what if failure was actually a good thing? What of it could propel you to future success? 

“Failure is success in progress,” Albert Einstein once said. The great scientist was on to something. Encountering our fears and failures prompts the most necessary changes in our lives and our businesses.

At SALT we talk about taking on the mantle of leadership and having the opportunity to try something new. Not everyone succeeds their first time. So, we talk about the idea of “Failing with Dignity”. That is failing and being coached through it with the chance to try again AND you won’t get voted out of camp. 

“The greatest teacher, failure is.” Yoda in The Last Jedi

“Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try Again. Fail again. Fail better.” Samuel Beckett 

When he was 22, he failed in business. When he was 23, he ran for the legislature and lost. When he was 24, he failed in business again. When he was 26, his sweetheart died. At the age of 27, he had a nervous breakdown. When he was 29, he was defeated for the post of Speaker of the House in the State Legislature. When he was 31, he was defeated as Elector. When he was 34 he ran for Congress and lost. At the age of 37, he ran for Congress and finally won. Two years later, he ran again and lost his seat in Congress. At the age of 46, he ran for the U.S. Senate and lost. The following year he ran for Vice President and lost that too. He ran for the Senate again and again and lost. Finally, at the age of 51, he was elected President of the United States.

Who was this perpetual “loser”? ABRAHAM LINCOLN

You’ve failed many times, although you may not remember. You fell down the first time you tried to walk. You almost drowned the first time you tried to swim, didn’t you? Did you hit the ball the first time you swung a bat? Heavy hitters, the ones who hit the most home runs, also strike out a lot.

  • English novelist John Creasey got 753 rejection slips before he published 564 books.
  • Babe Ruth struck out 1,330 times, but he also hit 714 home runs. 
  • Dr. Seuss’ first book, And to Think I Saw It on Mulberry Street, was rejected by 27 different publishers before it finally got picked up. 
  • J.K. Rowling was turned down by 12 publishers before finding success with her Harry Potter books. 
  • Thomas Edison’s teachers said he was “too stupid to learn anything.” He was fired from his first two jobs for being “non-productive.” As an inventor, Edison made 1,000 unsuccessful attempts at inventing the light bulb. The light bulb was an invention with 1,000 steps.
  • Walt Disney was fired by a newspaper editor because “he lacked imagination and had no good ideas.” He went bankrupt several times before he built Disneyland. In fact, the proposed park was rejected by the city of Anaheim on the grounds that it would only attract riffraff.

Don’t worry about failure. Worry about the chances you miss when you don’t even try.

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