Failure should be viewed as a step to achievement. Just before I started my first company, my father used to tell me, “If you’re not making mistakes, you’re not doing anything.” Over the years, I took my mistakes and failures personally – as some sort of deficiency, a missing skill set, being unlucky, or some other lack of talent. I had to learn and then accept that failure is a necessary component of achievement.
Failure or making mistakes is just a short detour. As my father used to say, you can only avoid failure by doing nothing. Achievement is what distinguishes 3% of the population from the 97% who give up, stay with the status quo, or do nothing.
Learn From Your Mistakes
Learning from their mistakes and failures further drive these 3% achievers toward their strategy and goals. “Think and Grow Rich” author, Napoleon Hill, noted one of the things that separated high achievers from other people was their reaction to failure. He observed, “Most great people have attained their greatest success just one step beyond their greatest failure.”
Often, others view achievers as having had lucky breaks or inherited success. Almost always, a lucky break results from being in the right place at the right time…and being prepared. Personally, I’ve had to create my luck. I do that by investing in myself through study, hard work, and preparation. Therefore, when the opportunity presents itself, I am ready to execute and nothing stands in the way.
In a briefcase, there is a million dollars in cash. The briefcase is located about a one hour drive from where you are now. If you make it, I will hand you the briefcase, and it’s all yours. All you have to do is get there within the next 90 minutes. However, there is one caveat. Just one second late and the deal is off, no excuses! So when are you going to go for it?
Most people would jump into the car and start driving to the briefcase. During the trip, all excited, you’re thinking about how you’re going to spend the money. Then traffic comes to a halt. There is a five-car pile-up between you and the briefcase, and no way off the freeway or around the accident. Would you give up? Or, would you get out of your car and run, hire a helicopter, do anything, no matter what, to find another way of getting to the briefcase on time?
In contrast, let’s imagine that you are driving to an appointment with your hair stylist (men – assuming you have hair). The traffic again comes to a halt because of the same accident. What would you do in that case? Most would probably give up, call and reschedule.
So, what’s the difference between these two scenarios? The 3% achievers know the difference. If what you need to do (the strategy) is important enough, how you do it (the tactic) will not pose a problem. It’s only a temporary detour, but hard work, preparation, and finally execution will get you there.
Now apply this to your career or your business. Do you have a strategy? Have you prepared? Do you have a tactical plan of execution? Are you afraid of mistakes and possible failure? Three percent of us have a strategy, are prepared, have a plan, and are not afraid. We are determined to achieve, no matter what!
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