Whenever I tell people that failure is the first rung on the ladder of success, they look at me as a faithlessness fellow. But the truth is, you wouldn’t have gotten to where you are today if you did not learn from your mistakes.
A young man walked up to me after a speaking engagement and said that he wanted to speak like me. I asked whether he was ready to pay the required price, and he said yes. I now told him what happened the first day I stood before an audience to speak. After the story, I said, “What you saw today is a products of many years of failures.”
If you want to be successful at anything in this life, here’s one of the most valuable pieces of information that I can give you; focusing on long term goals will keep you from becoming sidetracked by short term frustrations.
In school, business, marriage, childbearing, or any endeavor, the pathways of success are almost always marked with numerous frustrations and setbacks. Here are few examples of “failures” you may not have heard of:
A young man’s lifelong dream was to attend West Point. He was twice turned down but applied a third time and was accepted. His name was Douglas MacArthur.
In the first year of operation, The CocaCola Company sold a measly four hundred Cokes. Today, CocaCola sells over 2 billion bottles of their products daily.
Both Hewlett-Packard and Atari turned down the opportunity to buy the first Apple microcomputer. First year sales of Apple were $2.5 million. Today, Apple Inc. is a multi-billion dollar company.
Henry Ford went bankrupt in his first year in the automobile business and two years later, his second company failed. His third one has done rather well. I’m sure you know about Ford cars today.
Twenty-three publishers rejected a children’s book written by an author who called himself Dr. Seuss. The twenty-fourth publisher published it and the book sold six million copies. He would have missed an opportunity of a lifetime if he had given up when the twenty-third publisher rejected his work.
In 1903 King Gillet invented the safety razor and sold a grand total of 51 razors and 168 blades for the entire year. Do you know about Gillet today? I’m sure you do.
Most times we don’t understand that sudden success is a product of years of hard work and disappointments. Nobody woke up and became and billionaire, it took years of heartbreaking failures and pain to get there.
If you talk to any successful person anywhere in the world, I’m sure he will tell you about scores of frustrating experiences he had along the way. It’s all just part of the price of success.
In boxing, a knockout is rarely the result of one punch. Instead, it’s the cumulative effect of series of blows that gets the final result. Sometimes you’re knocked down, but you must get up and keep fighting. If you give up when you’re down, you will not have the opportunity to win the contest.
You must understand that winners don’t quit, and quitters don’t win. Failure is not final, it’s just a detour on your way to the top. It takes consistent fight to win in life. If you give up, you will not go up. But if you keep fighting, you will get to your destination.
Akin Alabi posted this on his Twitter handle, “I’ve launched many businesses that failed. I published a sports paper, it failed. I published a business paper, it failed. Had a printing press, failure. Had a travel company, it failed. And more. No one talks about them. They talk about NairaBet because that one succeeded.”
Charles Kettering opined, “Failures, repeated failures, are finger posts on the road to achievement. The only time you don’t fail is the last time you try something and it works. One fails towards success.”
Louis L’Amour said, “Victory is won not in miles but in inches. Win a little now, hold your ground, and later win a little more.”
That you failed does not make you a failure. You will become a failure when you stop moving forward because of temporary discomfort. Don’t accept failure as an insurmountable mountain. You can go over it, go through the sides, or simply uproot it.
Guess what? Nobody remembers those who give up. In fact, those who give up are not usually documented in the history books. That’s why it’s hard to remember those who come second in sports. The history books always document those who came first.
Dear friend, don’t give up. Don’t aim for the average. Go for the best. Will it be easy? Not at all. Nothing worthwhile comes easy. In fact, you will fail over and over and over again before you get to the top. Just develop thick skin and rebel against failure. If you do that, you will definitely succeed.
Have you booked your seat for the forthcoming Business and Career Conference that will be holding at Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja on the 30th June, 2018? Kindly do that now. I will be speaking on Business Growth Strategies in the 21st Century, and Ten Ways to Attract and Keep Your Customers for Live. Check the handbill below for more information. Keep soaring!
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