What does it mean to fail at something? At what point does an outcome get labeled as failure? If a baseball player strikes out, has he failed? Is he then a failure? What if we fall short of our desired outcome? How we answer those questions has a significant impact on our long-term success.
Most people view failure as a final outcome. He fell short. There was a breakdown in the process. She tried, but didn’t succeed.
Some people, however, view the event as merely a part of the process, a piece of the puzzle. This theory would suggest that failure is simply a shortfall, evidence of the gap between the objective and the current reality. If you subscribe to this version, then you see failure as an opportunity for learning. You are able to evaluate what went wrong, what didn’t work as expected. Then you adjust your strategy, and attempt it again.
Don’t Hesitate to Step Up to the Plate
How many times in our lives have we not even bothered to try something, because of our fear of failing? Not even the failure itself, just the fear of it? And then there are the times when we’ve tried something once, it didn’t work, and we hung it up. We gave up. We quit.
That reaction is probably the natural human tendency. But there’s plenty of evidence to suggest that success is right around the corner, right on the other side of the point at which you stopped.
Babe Ruth is one of the greatest baseball players ever. He held the all-time home-run record for years, before being surpassed by Hank Aaron. But what many don’t know is that he also struck out more times than anyone in history. He failed 1330 times! When asked what he did when he got into a batting slump, Ruth answered "I just keep goin’ up there and keep swingin’ at ’em. I know the old law of averages will hold good for me just the same as it does for everyone else."
Thomas Edison had 10,000 failures before he invented the incandescent light bulb. Why didn’t he stop after one, ten, or nine thousand? He made up his mind that each failure brought him that much closer to success. He subscribed to Napolean Hill’s theory that "every adversity brings with it the seed of an equivalent or greater benefit."
Keep Your Eye on the Ball
Action cures fear, and persistent action will eventually lead to success. When you meet with temporary setbacks, and it seems as though you cannot possibly go further, press on! Keep going, and you will eventually get there. Don’t be deterred by doubt and fear, for they will fall by the wayside as you continue toward your objective.
Each failure is like a strikeout, and your greatest asset is the number of strikeouts since your last hit. The greater the number, the nearer you are to your next hit. The law of averages means that your next success may come at your next at bat. So take that action that you were putting off, and move one step closer to success!
Brian Bartes is a top personal and business success coach. His bi-weekly newsletter is filled with strategies that support you in achieving greater success in your personal and professional life. Subscribe today at his website, LifeExcellence.com.