What Defines Your Success?


Failure is not the opposite of success, it is part of it.

Life is very black and white. Not in terms of race or color, but of our convictions of what defines success.

We believe that if we fail at something then it is finalize. We try, we fail and therefore we believe we are not good at whatever task we did not succeed at and move on to something else, something easier, something safer and ultimately something less rewarding.

The truth is you cannot always quantify the lessons learned in failure but if you could you would see that you are closer to your goals than if you didn’t try at all.

One of the most profound quotes is from Arianna Huffington of the Huffington Post, she says, “Failure is not the opposite of success it is part of it.”

How liberating is that quote. In one sentence it take the burden of everything we’ve ever failed at and tells us that we are actually on the path to success instead of carrying this self-assessed ideal of being a failure.

We all know there is always a lesson to learn from failing. Some pearl of knowledge that can get us closer to our goals the next time we try but we often focus on the sting of failure and the future embarrassment instead of embracing the opportunity to learn and redeem ourselves the next time.

Did you know it took Thomas Edison over 1000 failed attempts to make the light bulb. Can you image devoting that much time and trial to something that you believe in? Especially, on an EXPERIMENT that’s never truly been proven to work before. That is a blind leap of faith and a lot of ridicule to endure with each new failed attempt.

After a successful version of the light bulb was made a reporter asked Edison, “How did it feel to fail 1000 times”, Edison replied, "I didn’t fail 1,000 times. The light bulb was an invention with 1,000 steps."

That is an example that many Fortune 500 executives refer to when they speak about success and perseverance. It is the steps that get us to our goals. Some propel us forward, some seem to push us back but if we keep going, step after step, trial after trial, challenge after challenge we can achieve all that we want and deserve.

Because Edison believed in himself and committed to his vision nearly every person who has lived since has been enriched by Edison through the use of the light bulb.

This article is simply to say we all have the potential to reach our level of success but we limit ourselves if we stop trying, stop learning and believe others when they say that we can’t succeed.

Did you know Michael Jordan, the greatest basketball player of all time, was cut from his high school basketball team and Henry Ford, the founder of The Ford Motor company went broke 5 times before he was successful.

Even J.K Rowling, the author of the Harry Potter series, was rejected by 12 publishing companies who said that nobody would ever be interested in reading about a “Boy wizard”. Now her books are an international success and she has earned a net worth of nearly a $1 billion.

The reality is that virtually everyone who has succeeded has failed… alot! The difference between them and everyone else who did not achieve their dreams is that they

got back up and kept trying after they failed. They learned from their failures, corrected their mistakes, tried again and repeated the process until they either reached their goals or outlasted their competition.

We are all capable of achieving the greatness we seek and the success that we dream of but it is not handed out for free. It starts with taking that first leap-of-faith step to try and often costs us the heartache of failure, but again that is all part of your success story.

I’ll close with a quote that was said to me by a mentor of mine. He said, “Success is the reward of every time you wanted to speak you, instead, stopped to listen. Every time you wanted to sleep you, instead, read one more page. Every time you heard a NO you couldn’t go home until you got another Yes and finally every time someone said, “You couldn’t” you didn’t stop until you could.”

Find your passion, set your focus, and strive for the life you want and deserve. Think of it this way, somebody is going to achieve the success that you want. It might as well be you!

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