We will never have more success than failure
How do you define success? Please think about your answer about overcoming paragraphs, as our thoughts about success may not be entirely accurate. For example, most people believe that success consists of winning and fewer failures, when in fact the opposite is true.
I was watching American TV presenter Steve Harvey, who recently said, “I’ve failed far more times than I’ve succeeded. You’ll never be more successful than you fail… That’s just not how it works. I’ve presented over 200 show ideas in Hollywood, of those 200 they have chosen 5 in 33 years of presentation”.
So what Harvey tells us is that his success rate over the last 33 years of pitching ideas to Hollywood is 2.5%. However, he is one of the most successful TV hosts and comedians, with a net worth of $200 million dollars.
To present a similar example, consider the following quote from basketball legend Michael Jordan: “I have missed over 9,000 shots in my career. I have lost nearly 300 games. Twenty-six times I have been trusted to take the game-winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that’s why I’m successful.”
Do you have the feeling that success is not about repeated victories, but about not giving up until we achieve our goals or dreams? And you? Have you experienced success that changed your life?
I’m not talking about fame or financial windfalls, but the success we experience with our health, relationships, career, or finances. The only common denominator, as Steve Harvey points out, is that we will never have more success than failure; and that’s a good thing. We have to be working on our goal, to have any chance of achieving success.
Failure sharpens the saw of our character
In a recent documentary presented by David Attenborough, a camera crew followed a pride of lions living in Africa for twelve months. In it, he mentions that a lion will fail 9 times out of 10 when hunting prey. Many things can go wrong during a kill, forcing the lion to give up the hunt.
Therefore, he must try more often to feed himself and the pack. Success is the same where commitment and perseverance are required to achieve our goals. Even then, there are no guarantees that we will prevail. A strong mindset is needed to achieve success. If we experience repeated failures and setbacks, it can affect our self-esteem.
Have you experienced this with a goal, either personal or professional? It is my experience training people over the years; it’s rare to find someone who has the resilience to keep going in the face of defeat. We need to have a powerful vision for our lives if we want to be successful. Failures and setbacks will most likely stop us in our tracks if we don’t commit enough.
To paint another example, the Navy Seal BUD/S program is designed to weed out those who are unfit to serve on the front lines. The dropout rate is 80% or higher, and that’s just the selection process to get into the program.
The attrition rate is high because the program aims to select those who are mentally, emotionally, and physically fit for frontline warfare. I appreciate that our lives are not as demanding as the Navy Seals program, but success also has a high dropout rate due to the resilience required to be successful.
According to the American author Stephen Covey, failure sharpens the saw of our character because it fuels our personal growth and resilience. Covey talked about the need to establish strong habits, which is why he called it sharpening the saw.
success leaves clues
Do you get the sense that success is about who we become, what determines whether we are successful? Zig Ziglar said, “It is your attitude, not your aptitude that will determine your altitude.” Those we consider successful have accumulated a lifetime of personal growth to get where they are.
When I read their biographies, the common denominator is the setbacks they experienced, such as repeated failures, setbacks, and insurmountable odds to reach the top of their field.
What stands out the most is their strength of character and the resilience on which they build their lives. We must fail, and fail often, if we are to achieve any form of success. Furthermore, we must examine our failures to see if we are growing in proportion to them.
However, we should not consider ourselves a failure because failure is not indicative of our self-worth.. Failure is a sign that we are trying and the more we try, the better our chances of success. It bears repeating: we have to be doing the work to have any chance of success. We have to be in the arena doing the hard work that no one sees or will praise us for.
Knowing this, I invite you to consider an area of your life in which you hope to be successful. What do you think is holding you back? It could say economic conditions, the coronavirus pandemic, or something else. Let me remind you that Jeff Bezos’s wealth grew by $90.1 billion during the pandemic. The personal fortunes of Bill Gates and other notable billionaires have also grown during the pandemic.
The point I want to make is that even during a global crisis, successful people thrive and we can use that to propel us forward. So, get out your journal and write down 3-5 recent failures you’ve experienced, whether personal or professional. What have you learned from them? Write how you can use the growth to be successful in the future.
There is a well-known quote attributed to Tony Robbins who said, “Success leaves clues.” So what clues is success leaving you? Could it be that your failures are sharpening the saw of your character? Write your responses in a journal and take an introspective look within yourself to see where the opportunities exist. After all, you will never have more success than failure because life makes us the person we want to be, when success finally comes to our door.