How many of you have been hit by failure to the point you can’t take it anymore? How many of you have felt you tried hard enough but then threw in the proverbial towel? Did you really try that hard? Who knows what would have happened if those who did…didn’t? I read an article in an April 11th, 2014 issue of Business Insider. The article, When you Feel Like You’re Failing by Jacquelyn Smith, talks about JetBlue Chairman Joel Peterson’s Linkedin posting-he posted about failure. He said “Abraham Lincoln, failed all the way to the White House. Look at Steve Jobs, he was fired by Apple…the company he co-founded in 1985, and Dr. Seuss had his first book rejected by 27 different publishers.”
So what’s the matter with failure? The world’s greatest movers and shakers have failed…many times. They have taken a lickin’ and kept on tickin’. A great deal of failure or the feeling of failure, may very well be how we choose to look at it. We should choose to see it as a step towards forming our own success and not as a weakness.
In the same Business Insider article, Joel Peterson offered these three things to remember when you hit a bump in the road:
There’s important information in failure. Remember that failing is a learning experience. “It was Thomas Edison who declared, ‘I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work,’” “He followed up with, ‘Negative results are just what I want. They’re just as valuable to me as positive results.’” Maintain this type of attitude and you’ll be more likely to succeed.
The worst will pass more quickly than you think. Move forward, Peterson suggests. And remember that there’s a good chance you’ll eventually look back at your struggle as something you’d not wish on your worst enemy — but also as something that was crucial to your own development and success. “Many failures are devastating, but if you proceed with integrity and refuse to let setbacks change your spirit, you may rebound stronger than ever.”
You need to accept responsibility. Peterson says he was once involved in a conflict that he had concluded was entirely the responsibility of another party. “A wise woman asked me, ‘What did you contribute to this unhappy situation?’ At first, my answer was, ‘Nothing.’ But as I reflected on things, I could see I’d been a ‘joint venture partner’ in my distress.” Assessing our own role in setbacks will not only help you avoid similar problems in the future, but it can also keep failure from “spawning victimhood,” he concludes.
I’d like to add that this attitude while geared towards business, because Joel Peterson is the Chairman of Jet Blue, are just good thoughts for all different parts of life. I ask again: Where would you be…where could you be…if you changed how you viewed failure? Think about it!
Love to hear your thoughts!