Growing up I was made to fear failure, and so in other not to fail at anything I wouldn’t even try doing it. But come to think of it who has not failed? If you haven’t failed at anything then you haven’t attempted anything worthwhile.
Anyone who has failed knows that with failure come tremendous opportunities for improvement. Failure is there to make us better, wiser, smarter, and more cautious. Failing gives us the information to do better. Most of the greatest inventions we celebrate and use today came after years of trying to solve a problem and failing. I am a great lover of football, and anyone who is conversant with the game knows that even the world’s best players fail to score at times when their teams need them most. But they do not allow those times to overshadow their careers, but rather they learn from those moments and improve on their game. Great minds and Scientists of history often spent most of their lives failing. Yet their ability to learn from their failures created the world we are enjoying today.
Here are a few people who failed at various times in their lives. Let these famous people remind you that failure should be embraced and seen as a first step towards achieving success;
1- Albert Einstein: Most of us take Einstein’s name as synonymous with genius, but he didn’t always show such promise. Einstein did not speak until he was four and did not read until he was seven, causing his teachers and parents to think he was mentally handicapped, slow and anti-social. Eventually, he was expelled from school and was refused admittance to the Zurich Polytechnic School. It might have taken him a bit longer, but most people would agree that he caught on pretty well in the end, winning the Nobel Prize and changing the face of modern physics.
2- Abraham Lincoln: While today he is remembered as one of the greatest leaders of our nation, Lincoln’s life wasn’t so easy. In his youth he went to war a captain and returned a private (if you’re not familiar with military ranks, just know that private is as low as it goes.) Lincoln didn’t stop failing there, however. He started numerous failed business and was defeated in numerous runs he made for public office.
3- Oprah Winfrey: Most people know Oprah as one of the most iconic faces on TV as well as one of the richest and most successful women in the world. Oprah faced a hard road to get to that position, however, enduring a rough and often abusive childhood as well as numerous career setbacks including being fired from her job as a television reporter because she was “unfit for tv.”
4- Michael Jordan: Most people wouldn’t believe that a man often lauded as the best basketball player of all time was actually cut from his high school basketball team. Luckily, Jordan didn’t let this setback stop him from playing the game and he has stated, “I have missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I have lost almost 300 games. On 26 occasions I have been entrusted to take the game winning shot, and I missed. I have failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”
5- Bill Gates: Gates didn’t seem like a shoe-in for success after dropping out of Harvard and starting a failed first business with Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen called Traf-O-Data. While this early idea didn’t work, Gates’ later work did, creating the global empire that is Microsoft. (List source: onlinecollege.org)How do you make failure your best friend? The only way to overcome failure is persistent action. When you are confronted by failure, you have to act. It is usually at this time you will find breakthrough solutions you would never have considered otherwise.