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Fail To Succeed

“Character cannot be developed in peace and
quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be
strengthened; vision cleared; ambition inspired, and success achieved.” –
Helen Keller

The relationship between trial and suffering is a common theme
in the success and motivation literature, although “failure” usually replaces
“trial and suffering” in the equation. For example, Benjamin Disraeli said,
“All my successes have been built on my failures.” The famous Anon. said,
“Failure is a better teacher than success, but she seldom finds an apple on her
desk;” and Scott Adams, creator of Dilbert, said, “Most success springs from an
obstacle or failure.” Maury Povich joined in too when he said, “There’s got to
be a glitch along the way, or else you lose touch with reality.” Robert Louis
Stevenson took the concept to the extreme, “Our business in life is not to
succeed, but to continue to fail in good spirits;” and Winston Churchill echoed
the theme, “Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of

Now isn’t that just dandy. It’s enough to make one get out there
and fail just to get firmly on the path to success; and the bigger the failure,
the better. “Every failure brings with it the seed of an equivalent success,”
according to Napoleon Hill. Perhaps a good measure of trial and suffering would
also be a terrific addition to one’s optimal success strategy.

Interestingly, simply failing is, by itself, not sufficient. One
must develop the right attitude toward failure. Reggie Jackson suggested, “I
feel the most important requirement in success is learning to overcome failure.
You must learn to tolerate it, but never accept it.” Dexter Yager said, “A
winner is one who accepts his failures and mistakes, picks up the pieces, and
continues striving to reach his goals.” It’s a get back on the horse kind of
thing. Denis Waitley puts it this way, “Forget about the consequences of
failure. Failure is only a temporary change in direction to set you straight
for your next success.”

At least Norman Vincent Peale didn’t buy into the negative
approach to success, “We’ve all heard that we have to learn from our mistakes,
but I think it is more important to learn from our successes. If you learn only
from your mistakes, you are inclined to learn only errors.” The conclusion here
is simple. Fail if you absolutely can’t avoid it. If you fail, don’t quit. You
can’t succeed if you don’t try. Having said that, success is always more fun
than failing and there is never any shame in having fun. The key is to do the
right things right, the first time, on time, every time. With that as your personal
standard, you won’t always have fun but the odds will definitely favor your
proactive approach to success.

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