“I haven’t failed. I‘ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” – Thomas Edison
Have you had your dreams shot down in flames time and time again? Have you ever experienced an anchor dragging on your ambitions and telling you that will never succeed in life? It could be a family member perhaps, a friend, a colleague, a teacher or – even worse – your own thoughts. The latter is common as we tend to think negatively about ourselves, especially if we have felt the pain of failing a school class or a work-related task.
However, we can take heart from the fact that quite often it is the people who have been pushed down the most who tend to be the ones who ultimately rise and conquer. It’s not easy to fail over and over again and still have the courage to pursue your dreams when no one else except you believes in them. But that’s just it – the most important thing is to believe that you can triumph. As Henry Ford of Ford Motors said: “Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t – you’re right.”
Let me give you a few examples of some of the greatest ‘failures’ of all time:
Albert Einstein didn’t speak until the age of four and didn’t read until he was seven. His teachers labelled him: “slow” and: “mentally handicapped”
Thomas Edison’s teachers told him he was: “too stupid to learn anything”
Beethoven’s music teacher once said of him: “as a composer, he is hopeless.”(How ironic is it that not only was he one of the greatest of all time, he was also deaf)
Oprah Winfrey was fired from her television reporting job because they told her she wasn’t fit to be on screen
Vincent Van Gogh only sold one painting in his entire life
Walt Disney was fired by a newspaper editor because he: “lacked imagination and had no good ideas”
Henry Ford’s first auto company went out of business
These are just a few examples of people who rose to the top. More often than not, success does not come from trying once – it comes from trying over and over again. Persistence is everything. Maybe you always wanted to be a PR, a designer, a TV anchor or a ballet teacher, but you could never find the strength to pursue what you truly felt right in your heart because you let the negative impressions of others convince you that your efforts would be in vain. How do you think those greats I gave as examples of failures ultimately became successful? By giving up on their dreams? No! They had the mindset to succeed and never allowed anyone, no matter how influential, to bring them down. What they did was keep striving to succeed and they all had one thing in common: a passion for what they were pursuing. They had an idea they believed in and a purpose they were committed to following, regardless of failure. So what’s your passion?