Thomas Edison said, “To double your success rate, you must double your failure rate:”
Do you know that failures are critical to success in life? There is not a “successful” man or woman on this earth who was not a major failure many times before attaining that mantle of “Success in life.”
“If an iron tool is dull, and one does not sharpen its edge, he will need to exert much effort,” says a proverb, adding: “But wisdom helps to achieve success in life.” The lesson? Sharpen your axe, as it were, by planning ahead so that you can make the most effective use of your time. Set aside or eliminate nonessential tasks, which do little more than consume time and energy. If you find that you have time on your hands because you have caught up on your work, why not move on to a job that is scheduled for later? By thinking ahead, you increase your productivity, like a wise workman who sharpens his ax and start living your own dreams.
- He was fired from his job in ‘32.
- Defeated for a legislature in ‘32.
- Declared bankruptcy in ‘33.
- Elected to a legislature in ‘34.
- Sweetheart died in ‘35.
- Had a nervous breakdown in ‘36.
- Defeated for Speaker in ‘38.
- Defeated in nomination for Congress in ‘43.
- Elected to Congress in ‘46.
- Lost bid for renomination in ‘48.
- Rejected for Land Officer in ‘49.
- Defeated for Senate in ‘54.
- Defeated for nomination for Vice President in ‘56.
- Defeated for Senate a second time in ‘58.
And in 1860, Abraham Lincoln was elected President of the United States of America.
Set realistic goals to get Success in life
“Better to enjoy what the eyes see than to wander after one’s desires,” says another proverb. The point? A wise person does not let mere desires take the reins of his life, especially desires that may be unrealistic or impossible to satisfy. Clever advertising or easy credit does not seduce him. Instead, he learns to be content with what he can actually attain—what [his] eyes see.
Ambition and conceit will not help you find true success in life. In fact, the book good to great notes that company leaders who have achieved long-term success “display a compelling modesty, are self-effacing, and understated. In contrast, two-thirds of the comparison companies had leaders with gargantuan personal egos that contributed to the demise or continued mediocrity of the company.” The lesson? Thinking too much of yourself is more likely to lead to failure than success.
Is it empowering for you to define or describe yourself as a failure? Perhaps you think if you fail often enough, you’ll get to a point where you just can’t stand it anymore, and you’ll start succeeding. That’s called backwards motivation. Well, why not start right now, by acknowledging your successes instead?
If you set a task for yourself that each, and every evening before you go to sleep you will list in writing 10 successes — or 25 or 50 (if you’re impatient and want the crash course) —very soon, you will establish the habit of success in life.
Remember that our thoughts create our reality. Our thoughts create our feelings, and the emotional energy of feeling is a powerful ally for creating either success in life or failure. Again, it’s a choice, and it’s up to each of us, moment by moment to make the choice and success in life and to become a founding member.
When people who are resilient make mistakes, they do not berate themselves with self-defeating languages, such as “I’m a failure” or “I’m useless.” The book The Power of Resilience states that if you want to lead a resilient life, “you must recognize that mistakes and failure are a natural occurrence . . . Your choice is the manner in which you respond to these events.”
Another really important point; this business of creating positive thoughts is a moment-by-moment thing. The instant you succeed in turning a negative to a positive, that negative is going to do its best to reassert itself. Give it a break; it’s fighting for its life! But then so are you, and it is really all up to you which of the two wins.
Work hard to become proficient, and do not give up when faced with obstacles.
If you develop a strong work ethic, you will likely enjoy your work more. Dr. Madeline Levine writes: “Part of feeling successful at something is being good at it and most of being good at something has to do with effort, and persistence.” That includes having the resilience to deal with occasional setbacks.
Take care of yourself. Get proper rest. There is little benefit in becoming a workaholic who sacrifices everything—health, family, and friendships—for false success in life.