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10 Great Lessons Highly Successful People Have Learned From Failure

10 Great Lessons Highly Successful People Have Learned From Failure

Courage is certainly required in this life. I say this because failure is such a huge part of living—it happens to us all. So, is there a lesson to be learned from failure?

Successful people seem to think so. Edison once said that it was “ten thousand failures” that led to the final success of a working light bulb. Therein lies a lesson about failure: keep moving forward regardless of failure or number of failed attempts. Here are 10 more great lessons about failure from the mouths of successful people.

1. Accept failure, but keep trying.

Michael Jordan once said that, “I can accept failure, everyone fails at something. But I can’t accept not trying.” Failure then becomes a means to an end, rather than an end in and of itself. In other words, failure is a part of the journey toward success. Everyone fails at one time or another, the courage part comes in continuing to try.

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2. Continue forward in spite of failure.

Walt Disney was fired because he “lacked imagination and had no good ideas.” Here is the man responsible for an empire of imaginative movies and play for children the world over, and yet, he lost his job due to a lack of imagination. The lesson here is to keep moving toward that end goal, even when other people fail to see the same vision.

3. Success or failure is dependent upon whether or not you keep at it.

Babe Ruth said that, “Every strike brings me closer to the next home run.” This lesson is similar to Edison’s remark about his light bulb. Like it or not failure is the very engine of success, moving us one step closer to a successful conclusion. Of course, this also means that you have to keep going and not quit in attempting to achieve your goal.

4. Sometimes failure simply means changing direction.

Love Ben & Jerry ice cream? So do I. Here were a couple of guys that had completely different directions for their lives and still managed to become admirably successful. Mr. Ben Cohen dropped out of college, while Mr. Jerry Greenfield failed to get into medical school, and both managed to become and remain wildly successful.

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5. Believe in yourself.

Not everyone is going to “get you.” Elvis Presley, Lucille Ball, and Carol Burnett were all told to pack it in and go home due to their “astounding” lack of talent. Yet, can you imagine a world without their music and humor? Success begins through believing in what you can do. Don’t let other people discourage you in your path toward success.

6. Failure is a chance to learn.

Henry Ford is quoted as saying, “Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently.” Certainly, Edison would agree. You’ve just learned all the wrong ways toward that particular success, as Edison did with his “ten thousand” wrong attempts. Every lesson learned, every failure, is a movement in the right direction.

7. Attitude about failure can make all the difference.

“Success is the ability to go from failure to failure without losing your enthusiasm,” said Sir Winston Churchill. England was at a great disadvantage with the advent of World War II. Here is a prime example of tiny David against mighty Goliath. Churchill’s enthusiastic belief in England’s defense was a part of the turning point for that country in the war.

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8. Courage must be your watchword.

“If you have made mistakes, even serious ones, there is always another chance for you. What we call failure is not the falling down but the staying down,” a quote from Mary Pickford. We are all quite capable of spectacular mistakes and some of us, myself included, have made them. The key is to not allow defeat and failure to be the end-all. You must continue forward.

9. Don’t give up.

“For every failure, there’s an alternative course of action. You just have to find it. When you come to a road block, take a detour,” a quote from Mary Kay Ash. She was the founder of the very successful home business for leading cosmetics. Perhaps, the lesson of the failure is that there may be a better or a different way to achieve your goal.

10. Success can only grow from failure.

Benjamin Disraeli, a former British Prime Minister said, “All my successes have been built on my failures.” Indeed, failure is only a tipping point when one is on the road to success. Without failure, we as humans don’t learn and our movement toward success is stagnated. Let failure guide you toward success instead of becoming the stopping point.

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Featured photo credit: Hand drawing image of businessman. Business challenge via shutterstock.com

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Last Updated on December 3, 2019

10 Life Lessons You’d Better Learn Early on in Life

10 Life Lessons You’d Better Learn Early on in Life

There are so many lessons I wish I had learned while I was young enough to appreciate and apply them. The thing with wisdom, and often with life lessons in general, is that they’re learned in retrospect, long after we needed them. The good news is that other people can benefit from our experiences and the lessons we’ve learned.

Here’re 10 important life lessons you should learn early on:

1. Money Will Never Solve Your Real Problems

Money is a tool; a commodity that buys you necessities and some nice “wants,” but it is not the panacea to your problems.

There are a great many people who are living on very little, yet have wonderfully full and happy lives… and there are sadly a great many people are living on quite a lot, yet have terribly miserable lives.

Money can buy a nice home, a great car, fabulous shoes, even a bit of security and some creature comforts, but it cannot fix a broken relationship, or cure loneliness, and the “happiness” it brings is only fleeting and not the kind that really and truly matters. Happiness is not for sale. If you’re expecting the “stuff” you can buy to “make it better,” you will never be happy.

2. Pace Yourself

Often when we’re young, just beginning our adult journey we feel as though we have to do everything at once. We need to decide everything, plan out our lives, experience everything, get to the top, find true love, figure out our life’s purpose, and do it all at the same time.

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Slow down—don’t rush into things. Let your life unfold. Wait a bit to see where it takes you, and take time to weigh your options. Enjoy every bite of food, take time to look around you, let the other person finish their side of the conversation. Allow yourself time to think, to mull a bit.

Taking action is critical. Working towards your goals and making plans for the future is commendable and often very useful, but rushing full-speed ahead towards anything is a one-way ticket to burnout and a good way to miss your life as it passes you by.

3. You Can’t Please Everyone

“I don’t know the secret to success, but the secret to failure is trying to please everyone” – Bill Cosby.

You don’t need everyone to agree with you or even like you. It’s human nature to want to belong, to be liked, respected and valued, but not at the expense of your integrity and happiness. Other people cannot give you the validation you seek. That has to come from inside.

Speak up, stick to your guns, assert yourself when you need to, demand respect, stay true to your values.

4. Your Health Is Your Most Valuable Asset

Health is an invaluable treasure—always appreciate, nurture, and protect it. Good health is often wasted on the young before they have a chance to appreciate it for what it’s worth.

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We tend to take our good health for granted, because it’s just there. We don’t have to worry about it, so we don’t really pay attention to it… until we have to.

Heart disease, bone density, stroke, many cancers—the list of many largely preventable diseases is long, so take care of your health now, or you’ll regret it later on.

5. You Don’t Always Get What You Want

“Life is what happens while you’re busy making other plans.” – John Lennon

No matter how carefully you plan and how hard you work, sometimes things just don’t work out the way you want them to… and that’s okay.

We have all of these expectations; predetermined visions of what our “ideal” life will look like, but all too often, that’s not the reality of the life we end up with. Sometimes our dreams fail and sometimes we just change our minds mid-course. Sometimes we have to flop to find the right course and sometimes we just have to try a few things before we find the right direction.

6. It’s Not All About You

You are not the epicenter of the universe. It’s very difficult to view the world from a perspective outside of your own, since we are always so focused on what’s happening in our own lives. What do I have to do today? What will this mean for me, for my career, for my life? What do I want?

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It’s normal to be intensely aware of everything that’s going on in your own life, but you need to pay as much attention to what’s happening around you, and how things affect other people in the world as you do to your own life. It helps to keep things in perspective.

7. There’s No Shame in Not Knowing

No one has it all figured out. Nobody has all the answers. There’s no shame in saying “I don’t know.” Pretending to be perfect doesn’t make you perfect. It just makes you neurotic to keep up the pretense of manufactured perfection.

We have this idea that there is some kind of stigma or shame in admitting our limitations or uncertainly, but we can’t possibly know everything. We all make mistakes and mess up occasionally. We learn as we go, that’s life.

Besides—nobody likes a know-it-all. A little vulnerability makes you human and oh so much more relatable.

8. Love Is More Than a Feeling; It’s a Choice

That burst of initial exhilaration, pulse quickening love and passion does not last long. But that doesn’t mean long-lasting love is not possible.

Love is not just a feeling; it’s a choice that you make every day. We have to choose to let annoyances pass, to forgive, to be kind, to respect, to support, to be faithful.

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Relationships take work. Sometimes it’s easy and sometimes it’s incredibly hard. It is up to us to choose how we want to act, think and speak in a relationship.

9. Perspective Is a Beautiful Thing

Typically, when we’re worried or upset, it’s because we’ve lost perspective. Everything that is happening in our lives seems so big, so important, so do or die, but in the grand picture, this single hiccup often means next to nothing.

The fight we’re having, the job we didn’t get, the real or imagined slight, the unexpected need to shift course, the thing we wanted, but didn’t get. Most of it won’t matter 20, 30, 40 years from now. It’s hard to see long term when all you know is short term, but unless it’s life-threatening, let it go, and move on.

10. Don’t Take Anything for Granted

We often don’t appreciate what we have until it’s gone: that includes your health, your family and friends, your job, the money you have or think you will have tomorrow.

When you’re young, it seems that your parents will always be there, but they won’t. You think you have plenty of time to get back in touch with your old friends or spend time with new ones, but you don’t. You have the money to spend, or you think you’ll have it next month, but you might not.

Nothing in your life is not guaranteed to be there tomorrow, including those you love.

This is a hard life lesson to learn, but it may be the most important of all: Life can change in an instant. Make sure you appreciate what you have, while you still have it.

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Featured photo credit: Ben Eaton via unsplash.com

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