Fortune magazine once wrote that the greatest leaders are defined by their failures. While I’m not exactly inclined to fully agree with that statement, I do see the merit in it – failure is a crucible in which greatness is forged. In an age where achievements are increasingly lauded, it’s important to remember the lessons unique to failure.
No one said it better than Rocky did in Rocki VI: “It ain’t about how hard you hit; it’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward.” While effort certainly counts for a great deal, being able to sustain that level of output in the face of incredible odds is something that cannot be taught, only learned. How tough you is reflected in your ability to recover from failure.
Like it or not, luck plays a considerable hand when it comes to determining success. Many great feats in human history have been brought low simply because they were in the wrong place or time. No one is in full control of all the variables involved in success, and believing otherwise will only lead to misery and frustration. While this doesn’t mean that you should be fine with leaving everything up to chance, you need to understand that success never comes with a guarantee unless it’s a matter of physics of math. The sooner you make peace with that, the better.
With failure, there are always consequences. Being held accountable for them may not be the most comfortable thing in life, but it’s an important part of it nonetheless. And with all honesty, there will be times where you will be held accountable for the faults of others, especially if you’re in a position of leadership or management. It’s not about what’s fair and what’s not; learn to deal with it and be better for it.
You know the most frustrating thing with failure, especially repeated ones? Your pool of options will begin to dwindle. Whether it’s the diminishing amount of resources or trust, being limited by choices can make you feel like you’re being backed into a corner with no way out. The best one can do in such situations is to work with whatever hand’s been dealt.
Everyone loves a success, but the people who stick by a failure – those are the ones you can really count on. They say that failure tends to bring out the worse in people; that includes the people you surround yourself with. Take it as a learning opportunity for you to find out who can be called upon to be reliable and steadfast in times of uncertainty. These are the people you’d want to carry with you throughout your life.
The old saying of how every failure is merely a stepping stone to success still rings true to this day. It is extremely rare for someone to succeed at something new for the first time, and thankfully so. For without failure, how can one truly savour the taste of victory?