Success & Failure

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Success & failure are described by author, Laurence Shames as not being opposites but are like companions. In this regard, success is the hero and failure is the sidekick. Failure is however real and can be the more sensitive or traumatic of the two. Failure can elicit feelings such as shock, resentment, confusion, embarrassment, denial, and loss of confidence. Sometimes in managing these raging feelings, one may try to find reasons to excuse the failure or explain it away. In other ways, failure can be linked to something unrelated but that gives it meaning. However, though it may sometimes feel like a catastrophe, failure is part of the success process. Consider that one only needs to succeed three out of five times to be successful and four out of five to be outstanding. Embedded in these success scenarios are also one or two instances of failure.

The Process: So failing really is part of the process of succeeding. However, it is also important to find out any underlying reasons behind failure so it can be corrected. This way one begins to reduce the cycle of failure till success is achieved. The process can be also lonely, as failure is said to be an orphan. That is, no one associates with supposed “failures”; they tend to be shunned, isolated or even mocked. In reality, most successful people developed the capacity, confidence and skills for excellence during quiet periods of isolation. So a temporary period of failure is a fantastic opportunity to build up these. Understand that in the pursuit of a goal nothing is totally lost when one fails. Keep going, knowing that eventually success will come. Each failure encountered is more experience gained and just another step on the ladder to success.

The End Result: Sooner or later the missteps of failure will lead to success. However, one must never ever see oneself as a personal failure. This is because the goal or task may have failed but the person has not. This is very critical. Immense resilience and tenacity has been developed and this often results in a more rounded and experienced person. There is now the opportunity to fine-tune everything required for excellence the next time around – so success & failure really are companions. Just like General George S. Patton, the famous American WWII general, said, “I do not fear failure. I only fear the ‘slowing up’ of the engine inside of me, which is pounding, saying, ‘Keep going. Someone must be on top. Why not you?’”

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