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A failure is a lesson learned.

J.K. Rowling, the English author who became famous with her Harry Potter book series, said:

 “It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all – in which case, you fail by default.”

This leads us to think about the importance of failing, because this means that you are daring to do something, and as much as a failure hurts, it’s an important part of life, it means you are living, that you are learning, that you are trying to do something, it means that you dare, you act, that you not only dream but that you do something about it.    

Personally, I have failed many times and they haven’t necessarily been small failures, some have been big and have hurt more than even I realized at the time.  I am talking about personal, professional, financial and even failures regarding my health, but all these failures have taught me something, from not repeating them to finding different ways to get results and thus, the desired success.

Winston Churchill used to say “Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm”.

Let’s look at some examples of famous people that failed before they achieved success, we all know or have heard about them at one time or another, but what many don’t know is how they failed before attaining success:

  • J. K. Rowling started with her Harry Potter idea in 1990 during a train ride from Manchester to London.  Her life took different twists and turns and by 1993 she had written just 3 chapters, however, she couldn’t move forward with her book, it wasn’t until 1995 that she sent her project to 12 publishing houses and all of them rejected it.  A year later a very small publishing house accepts her book and pays her a very small advance.  In 1997 her book is printed with a run of only 1000 copies, 500 of which were distributed to book stores.  In 1997 and 1998 the book received accolades and the rest is history with more than 4000 million copies sold and several movies made, she is currently one of the most successful authors ever.
  • Oprah Winfrey. She is another example of perseverance, as a small girl she suffered not only poverty but also abuse, at 14 years old she was sent to live with her father where she graduated in communications.  At the beginning of her career she worked in local radio and later local televisions stations, from which she was fired because, as they told her, you are “NOT television material”.  Years later she moved to Chicago where she got a job as host of a local program with low ratings, lifting it to be one of the highest rated shows in just a few months, leading to her own name becoming the name of the show, which remained near the top in popularity for many years.  Today, Oprah is one of the most successful women.
  • Bill Gates: Before Microsoft, Bill Gates failed with his first company, Traf-o-Data, a partnership between Gates, Gilbert, and Allen, which tried to create reports for traffic engineers, but even though that business failed, he did not give up and years later they created what is now one of the biggest successes in the history of business ventures.

 These are just some examples of famous people, I could name many more, like Jim Carrey, Steve Jobs, Stephen King, Henry Ford, Coronel Sanders, Walt Disney, Albert Einstein, Van Gogh, etc.  I invite you to look around you, and to talk to successful people that surround you.  Ask them about their experience in achieving success, what road did they travel, and above all, whether or not they experienced failures, and what they learned from them.

I can assure you that if not all, most of those people experienced several failures before becoming successful, just as I can assure you that a common denominator among all was perseverance, not giving up, because they had a goal in mind, and they kept a positive attitude, learning from their failures.

Some lessons we can learn from our failures:

You realize that it’s not the end of the road.  When you fail, and fail big, it feels like it’s the end of the world.  It feels like everything you once dreamed of is totally out of your reach.  It has a high emotional cost.  You break down physically, mentally, financially, and spiritually.  

But later, you realize that the failure was not the end of the road.  Even though it hurt more than what you would like to acknowledge, the failure helped you more than it kicked you.  It helped rebuild and many times redefine you. There’s a saying that goes:

What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger

Failure helps you redefine your priorities in life, you reorganize the things that are truly important to you.

Failure also makes you more compassionate, we all know the power, the ego, but when we fail, things change, a failure breaks down the ego and you realize the importance of being humble.  Failure makes you think about things on a deeper level, understand, worry about others instead of concentrating on yourself..

Failure also helps you identify your true friends, they do say that friends are those that stick with you during the good times and the bad, and when you fail is when you confirm who your true friends are.

As you can see, experiencing a failure has more advantages than disadvantages, so next time you fall:  get up, shake it off, lick your wounds, and think, What lessons did you learn from this failure? What should you not do? And What should you do more carefully?

Take note of that, re-focus and move forward!

© 2019, All rights reserved, Aldin Consulting Group, LLC.

Alicia Díaz-Blevins

[email protected]


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