If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again….
Many of us have heard this phrase time and time again, whether from your parents, teachers or coaches growing up. Although these are supposed to be words of encouragement, this is often a lot easier said then done.
When we fail at something, it can often be very discouraging. However, failing is a fact of life. Failure should only be taken as a temporary setback rather than grounds for quitting.
Bloomberg reports that 73 of the first 100 billionaires are self-made. They too had to endure failure, hardships, and rejection to reach their status today. They were not born successful or as child prodigies; rather, they are products of perseverance through failure.
Case studies: Oprah Winfrey
There is perhaps no better example of someone who has turned failure into success than Oprah Winfrey. She endured a difficult childhood, and when trying to start her media career was dropped from her first TV job as a co-anchor on WJZ-TV’s evening news within months.
Oprah called her early years at WJZ the “first and worse failure of her TV career”.
Oprah persevered and was eventually recruited to host a morning talk show in Chicago which went on to become The Oprah Winfrey Show which catapulted her from obscurity into one of the wealthiest and most influential woman in America.
Case Studies: Walt Disney
Walt Disney was originally fired from his first newspaper editor position for “lacking imagination and having no good ideas.” He went on to have several failed businesses and faced bankruptcy on more than one occasion before founding the successful, now multi-billion dollar, Disney empire.
Case Studies: Michael Jordan
Michael Jordan, arguably one of the greatest basketball players of all time, was cut from his high school basketball team yet he persevered.
Jordan is quoted as saying: “I have missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I have lost almost 300 games. On 26 occasions I have been entrusted to take the game winning shot, and I missed. I have failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”
Case Studies: Steven Spielberg
Steven Spielberg, the Oscar winning director of blockbusters such as Jurassic Park and ET, was rejected from three film schools, and suffered many early career failures before going on to direct the blockbuster Jaws at the age of twenty seven. Over a career which has now spanned over four decades he has produced films which have to date grossing over $8.5 billion.
Case Studies: Jim Carey
Actor and comedian Jim Carey came from a low-income family. At 15, he had to drop out of high school to work to support his family. Carey was booed off stage at his first stand up comedy show, and applied but failed to get a role on Saturday Night Live. Today, Carey’s net worth is over $150 million, and he has gone on to host Saturday Night Live on three different occasions!
Case Studies: Bill Gates
Bill Gates dropped out of Harvard to found Traf-O-Data, which failed as a business before becoming the mastermind billionaire behind Microsoft and one of the richest men in the world.
It is not just famous individuals such as those listed above, many startup companies and entrepreneurs also have great failure to success stories.
Kathryn Minshew, co-founder of music website PYP Media lost her life savings of $20,000 after a disagreement between herself and the other co-founders. She went on to found The Muse, an online careers resource which had more visitors in the first month than PYP ever had.
Minshew comments, “In many ways, that first failure was the best thing that ever happened to me.”
Similarly, Noah Kagan was fired from Facebook, which at the time he regarded as his entire life. Taking onboard the mistakes he made at Facebook Kagan bounced back, and is now the founder and CEO of AppSumo, a daily deals website for digital goods and online services which continues to grow in terms of customer numbers and revenue.
Don't be discouraged...
The individuals listed above have been able to turn their failure into success stories because they were committed, hard-working, passionate, and focused individuals who were able to channel their frustration from failure into a positive outcome.
Instead of being discouraged, take negative experiences as a learning opportunity. You can learn from criticism or mistakes to reach the goals you have. Failure should never stop you from following your dreams. You may not be successful on your first attempt but don’t be afraid to try, try again….
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