by ZOË B
If Thomas Edison had believed in failure… we would still be living in darkness. If Henry Ford had given up, we would still be riding on horseback…if Alexander Graham Bell had given in to the clutches of failure, we would be spending less time staring at those small plastic things we call phones that rule our lives (which might not be a bad thing!).
On a serious note – anyone who has achieved ANYTHING great, anyone who has CHANGED THE WORLD has at some point made a choice to embrace failure instead of fighting it.
If you look at the most inspirational innovators, athletes, geniuses, and icons throughout history, they all shared a common belief – they simply did not entertain the notion of failure as a bad thing.
Instead, they understood that every failure encountered brings you one step closer to success, and that this is a natural part of the process. Some even enjoyed failure!
If you think about it, failure is just feedback; it’s simply showing you what’s not working so you can find out what will work. It’s necessary and can’t be avoided.
If we didn’t have failure, how would we know what to do next? The process of learning from our mistakes is truly invaluable, and is something we need to run toward, not run away from.
Below are a selection of quotes on the topic of failure from 20 iconic people, each of whom has achieved something great and is talking from his or her own unique experience.
Today, let’s celebrate these wonderful souls who chose to embrace failure with open arms. Maybe, just maybe, their words of wisdom will help us to do the same.
1. “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” – Thomas Edison
2. “Success is the ability to go from failure to failure without losing your enthusiasm.” – Winston Churchill
3. “Failure is only the opportunity to begin again, only this time more wisely.” – Henry Ford
4. “Our greatest glory is not in never failing, but in rising every time we fail.” – Confucious
We have all read about people who are successful briefly. They win a gold medal, make a fortune, or star in one great movie and then disappear.…These examples do not inspire me!
My focus and fascination is with people who seem to do well in many areas of life, and do it over and over through a lifetime. In entertainment, I think of Paul Newman and Bill Cosby. In business, I think of Ben and Jerry (the ice cream moguls)…As a Naval Officer, husband, businessman, politician and now as a mediator and philanthropist on the world stage, Jimmy Carter has had a remarkable life. We all know examples of people who go from one success to another.
These are the people who inspire me! I’ve studied them, and I’ve noticed they have the following traits in common:
They work hard! Yes, they play hard, too! They get up early, they rarely complain, they expect performance from others, but they expect extraordinary performance from themselves. Repeated, high-level success starts with a recognition that hard work pays off.
They are incredibly curious and eager to learn. They study, ask questions and read—constantly! An interesting point, however: While most of them did well in school, the difference is that they apply or take advantage of what they learn. Repeated success is not about memorizing facts, it’s about being able to take information and create, build, or apply it in new and important ways. Successful people want to learn everything about everything!
They network. They know lots of people, and they know lots of different kinds of people. They listen to friends, neighbors, co- workers and bartenders. They don’t have to be "the life of the party," in fact many are quiet, even shy, but they value people and they value relationships. Successful people have a Rolodex full of people who value their friendship and return their calls.
They work on themselves and never quit! While the "over-night wonders" become arrogant and quickly disappear, really successful people work on their personality, their leadership skills, management skills, and every other detail of life. When a relationship or business deal goes sour, they assume they can learn from it and they expect to do better next time. Successful people don’t tolerate flaws; they fix them!