Creative LeadershipCreativity

A Better Perspective on Failure

“Would you like me to give you a formula for success?  It’s quite simple, really.  Double your rate of failure.”
— Thomas J. Watson – Former President of IBM

The secret to overcoming failure is to divide your circumstances into two groups:  situations you can change and situations you can’t.  I believe nearly everything can be changed or at least approached in a different way, but sometimes they can’t be changed right now.

Start with the situations that you can’t change (at least right now):  physical handicaps, financial situations, geographic locations, family issues, age, etc…
Second, make a list of situations you can change.  Your job, your schedule, your location, education, skills, friends or associates, etc…

If you’re fifty with an impressive gut and want to be a pro baseball player, short of a miracle, that’s not going to happen.  Or if you’re past the legal draft age and want to be a soldier, then we need to explore other possibilities.  Far too many people fail (and continue to fail) because they’re trying to change a situation that simply can’t be altered.  Stop banging your head against a wall and start practicing realistic thinking.

The bottom line?  Change your thinking about failure.  Failure is simply a potential result.  You are not a failure – you are part of the process, and every outcome is another step on the road to eventual success.  Without failure, change is never possible, and success can never be achieved.

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