The Other Side of Success

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What is success? Is it a thing, a concept, a feeling or a state of mind? Is it a sum of all those components? Here is one way of looking at success. Success is a concept that produces in us a state of mind of achievement of things surmountable and insurmountable. There is also another side to success—failure. Failure isn’t a bad thing. In fact, without failure, you’re unable to measure success. Consequently, failure becomes a sine qua non in determining the level of success.

Thomas J. Watson asks of success: “Would you like me to give you a formula for success?”

Then he continues:  “It’s quite simple, really. Double your rate of failure. You are thinking of failure as the enemy of success. But it isn’t at all. You can be discouraged by failure or you can learn from it, So go ahead and make mistakes. Make all you can. Because remember that’s where you will find success.”

You see, while failure is the enemy of success, it is also a friend. To be discouraged by failure is to cede your power to learn from the failure-experience and thereby possibly placing your mind in cognitive readiness to repeat those mistakes.

It has been said that the definition of insanity is to do the same thing over and over again, in the same manner, expecting different results. This suggests repetition of mistakes without recognition, or denial of visible facts.

Charles Francis Adams II adds to the quest of taking a different perspective of success. He said: “Failure seems to be regarded as the one unpardonable crime, success as the all-redeeming virtue, the acquisition of wealth as the single worthy aim of life. The hair-raising revelations of skullduggery and grand-scale thievery merely incite others to surpass by yet bolder outrages and more corrupt combinations.”

Indeed, a hair-raising revelation.

The human race cheats itself by its espousal to the mistaken notion that failure is to be abhorred. To do that is to subscribe to the concept of perfection, perfection—an unattainable abstract.

So if failure is the means by which we measure success then the question is this: Is failure really failure or a necessary encounter on the journey to success? Think about it. We are not empowered by that which is prima facie, but by that which we uncover in the depths of untapped thought. In mistakes is where you will find success. Failure, a roadblock to success, but an ingredient for its attainment.

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