A few decades ago in our schooling when we had sports day and competition based events, the awards were first second and third. If you did not do well you either decided that it is not your skill set and not something you want to pursue or you put your head down and did the hard work to get better. Thats fine, we are not all good at everything, and we are not meant to be good at everything. For some it urged them on to work harder and do better, and took them to world records and gold medals.
Then someone said, hang on, it’s not fair for all those that didn’t get a prize, so let’s just give everyone some sort of prize. Participation or improvement or an award for satisfactorily jumping just one of the ten hurdles. So now we get rewarded for something we haven’t actually achieved, nor done any work for.
Actually, self esteem and self-worth comes from trying, failing, trying again, and proving you can do it. What level of esteem do you get by having it handed to you on a silver platter, didn’t work for it and really don’t deserve it? Thats called an illusion. Which is why we get “disillusioned” as we were under an illusion in the first place.
Please don’t get upset with this truth, Im just trying to equip you so you will get the prize you want.
So we have fostered a generation that has an expectation of reward without effort. [I’m being general here so if this isn’t you – just ignore and move on]
Just as when the law of compensation will equip you for the next part of your goal, failing is part of your building process…. getting resilience so you can get better and better. It is like building muscles. A muscle is not being built when it’s stretched and gone through the painful bit. It’s being made stronger when it is repairing itself. It gets stretched, then repairs – stretched some more, and repairs and so on. That is resilience.
So for whatever it is you want to do, and don’t always get the prize, know it’s preparing you, building you, making you stronger so you can get the prize. That is of course if you really want it. That’s….. resilience.
To help us reconcile this go back to my new definition of failure. It’s just a Life’s Lesson.
If you don’t like something, change the way you think about it
There is only one way that you can truly fail – to not get up again.
There are thousands of true stories of successful people that failed miserably. Here are a few: As you read their stories ask: if they did not go through these hardships would have realised the same success?
It’s hard to believe that the man commonly lauded as the best basketball player of all time was actually cut from his high school basketball team. Luckily, Jordan didn’t let this setback stop him from playing the game, and as he once stated in a famous ad, “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.”
His first book, the iconic thriller Carrie, received 30 rejections, finally causing King to give up and throw it in the trash. His wife fished it out and encouraged him to resubmit it, and the rest is history, with King now having hundreds of books published and the distinction of being one of the best-selling authors of all time.
While today Spielberg’s name is synonymous with big-budget blockbusters and critically acclaimed films alike, he was rejected from the USC’s School of Theater, Film and Television three times. He eventually attended school at another location, only to drop out to become a director before finishing 35 years after starting his degree. Spielberg returned to school in 2002 to finally complete his work and earn his BA.
Although she is now worth billions and adored by millions of fans thanks to her popular talk show and media empire, Winfrey was actually fired from her first TV job as one of the 6 pm news anchors for Baltimore’s WJZ-TV.
Most people know the name Katy Perry, but they don’t the struggles that she went through to finally get that breakthrough she was after. Perry started her career early in her life, dropping out of high school after freshman year in 1999 to pursue singing. Originally, she was a gospel singer, taking cues from her parents who were Born Again Christians.
In 2001 Katy Perry released her first gospel album with Red Hill Records, which was commercially unsuccessful. After selling only 200 copies of her album, the record company ceased operations and subsequently went out of business. Afterward, Perry switched gears to popular music, moving to Los Angeles to record with producer Glen Ballard.
In 2003 she was signed to Island Def Jam, which was also a contract that was terminated. In 2004 she signed with Columbia Records who sought to make her the lead vocalist in a band called The Matrix. However, that deal also fell through when Columbia Records shelved the project at about 80% completion.
After being dropped from three labels, you would think that Perry would have given up. She didn’t. She continued to pursue her career, working odd jobs and doing back-up vocals until she was signed to the newly-formed Capitol Music Group in 2006. It was there that she worked on her first huge hit single, I Kissed a Girl, which started her career as a commercial success.
From an early age, Jay-Z had a knack for rhythm. But his meteoric rise to stardom didn’t happen overnight. He was faced with several roadblocks along the path to ultimate success. For example, in 1995 when Jay-Z tried tirelessly to strike a record deal, not a single label would sign him. It led him to establishing his own record company called Roc-a-fella Records with partners Damon Dash and Kareem Biggs.
After being turned down by so many labels, and eventually starting up his own record company, Jay-Z worked tirelessly to strike a distribution deal for his first album’s release. Eventually, he successfully negotiated a contract with Priority, later releasing his debut album entitled, Reasonable Doubt, which would eventually go on to hit platinum.
Jay-Z met with many failures along the road. Those failures weren’t just in the beginning of his career, but the beginning does highlight the tremendous amount of resistance he faced to achieve success. And, even at the prime of his career, Jay-Z was charged with allegedly stabbing someone at a record release party. He was tried, pleading not guilty, but later pleaded to a lesser criminal misdemeanor, resulting in three years of probation.
Considering that Jay-Z’s roots stemmed from the housing projects of Brooklyn, NY, and grew up in extreme poverty, he faced many failures and roadblocks in his life. But he never gave up. No matter what happened to him, no matter what failures he faced, he pushed through, growing as a person, and maturing to become a better individual.
Rowling is one of the most inspirational success stories of our time. Many people simply know her as the woman who created Harry Potter. But, what most people don’t know is what she went through prior to reaching stardom. Rowling’s life was not peaches and cream. She struggled tremendously.
In 1990, Rowling first had the idea for Harry Potter. She stated that the idea came “fully formed” into her mind one day while she was on a train from Manchester to London. She began writing furiously. However, later that year, her mother died after 10 years of complications from Multiple Sclerosis.
In 1992 she moved to Portugal to teach English where she met a man, married, and had a daughter. In 1993, her marriage ended in divorce and she moved to Edinburgh, Scotland to be closer to her sister. At that time, she had three chapters of Harry Potter in her suitcase.
Rowling saw herself as a failure at this time. She was jobless, divorced, penniless, and with a dependent child. She suffered through bouts of depression, eventually signing up for government-assisted welfare. It was a difficult time in her life, but she pushed through the failures.
In 1995 all 12 major publishers rejected the Harry Potter script. But, it was a year later when a small publishing house, Bloomsbury, accepted it and extended a very small £1500 advance. In 1997, the book was published with only 1000 copies, 500 of which were distributed to libraries.
In 1997 and 1998, the book won awards from Nestle Smarties Book Prize and the British Book Award for Children’s Book of the Year. After that, it was one wild ride for Rowling. Today, Rowling has sold more than 400 million copies of her books, and is considered to be the most successful woman author in the United Kingdom.
The man who has affected generations to come with his cartoon creations, was once considered a failure. Disney was fired by the editor in 1919 from his job at the Kansas City Star paper because he “lacked imagination and had no good ideas.” However, the man who brought us Mickey Mouse and a slew of other characters didn’t stop failing there.
Disney’s first go at business landed in bankruptcy when he acquired an animation studio by the name of Laugh-O-Gram. The company was acquired because, at the time, Disney’s cartoon creations had gained popularity in the Kansas City area. But, when he hired salaried employees, he was unable to manage money and the business wound up heavily in debt. Subsequently, he filed for bankruptcy and moved to Hollywood, California.
The early failures in Disney’s life didn’t dissuade him from moving forward. Of course, like anyone else, Disney’s failures were a blow to the ego. Anyone that has to suffer through the torment of failure and bankruptcy knows how this feels. However, it also laid the foundation for a successful career. When he formed the Walt Disney Company, all of his past failures helped to pave the way for a successful business.
Disney and the Walt Disney Company have touched the lives of millions across the globe. From cartoons, to theme parks, and animated movies, both children and adults now enjoy the fruits of Disney’s labor. Had he given up, things would have been far different. But he persevered, even through bankruptcy.