What do Abraham Lincoln, Henry Ford, Henry John Heinz, Walt Disney, Milton Hershey, Soichiro Honda, Akio Morita, Bill Gates, Harland David Sanders, and Donald Trump have in common? They were all failures at some time in their life.
For most, the climb to the top is plagued with adversity, stress, and a sense of self-doubt. Albert Einstein couldn’t speak until he was four or write until he was seven, making his teachers think he was handicapped. He was even expelled from school but ended up winning the Nobel Prize for physics. Thomas Edison was considered too stupid to do anything and was fired from the first few jobs he took. Oprah Winfrey was an abused child and got fired from her first TV job because “she was unfit to TV,” and Michael Jordan couldn’t even make his school basketball team.
Yes it’s a long way to the top if you want to rock and roll, as the lyrics of ACDC go. The old adage “good judgment comes from experience and most of that comes from making bad judgments,” makes sense – you only really learn from the mistakes you make. There is not much you learn from success except how to placate your ego. You start believing you are good and that’s when you start making mistakes.
Success is about developing personal wisdom and competence or what could be called personal mastery in the field you want to succeed in, whether it's football, running, teaching, or being an entrepreneur. Success takes time, and ‘street sense’ is a commodity that can’t be bought at any business school. You have to gain this yourself through the metaphoric ‘school of hard knocks.’ However, a mentor will always help.
So next time when you have setbacks, face adversity, ‘bad luck,’ disappointments, there is an upside you won’t be able to see at the time; experience that helps build the wisdom and toughness in you. The world is a matter of ‘when the going gets tough, the tough gets going,” otherwise you might get left behind wondering what ‘could have been.’ Don’t forget to get back up and have another go, as you will be wiser the next time.
This is the hurdle that most have to cross to reach the field of success in their lives. So go out and slog it out with the successful failures. Learn as you go until you start feeling inside of you a very special sense of confidence ‘that you have been here before and know what to do.” That’s personal mastery. Good luck with the first day of the rest of your life.