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Let Failure Spur You On Article by: Denis Waitley

It has been said that failure should be our teacher, not our undertaker. Failure is delay, not defeat. It is a temporary detour, not a dead-end. Failure is something we can avoid only by saying nothing, doing nothing, and being nothing.

It may motivate you more toward your own goals to know that some of the most famous and well-known people in modern times had to overcome obstacles as difficult as anyone’s before they finally reached the top. It takes persistence and total commitment to your goals, but it’s possible.

Thomas Edison’s father called him a “dunce.” His headmaster in school told Edison he would never make a success of anything.

Henry Ford barely made it through high school.

The machines of the world’s greatest inventor, Leonardo da Vinci, were never built, and many wouldn’t have worked anyway.

Edwin Land, the inventor of the Polaroid Land camera, failed absolutely at developing instant movies. He described his attempts as trying to use an impossible chemistry and a nonexistent technology to make an unmanufacturable product for which there was no discernable demand. These hurdles, in his opinion, created the optimum working conditions for the creative mind.

Joe Paterno, head coach of the Penn State University football team, was asked by the media how he felt when his team lost a game. He rapidly replied that losing was probably good for the team, since that was how the players learned what they were doing wrong.

Setbacks and failures mean little or nothing in themselves. The whole meaning of any setback — or any success, for that matter — is in how we take it and what we make of it.

We often look at high achievers and assume they had a string of lucky breaks or made it without much effort. Usually the opposite is true, and the socalled superstar or “overnight success” had an incredibly rough time before he or she attained any lasting success.

You may not know the background of a certain laundry worker who earned $60 a week at his job but had the burning desire to be a writer. His wife worked nights, and he spent nights and weekends typing manuscripts to send to publishers and agents. Each one was rejected with a form letter that gave him no assurance that his manuscript had even been read. I’ve received a few of those special valentines myself through the years, and I can tell you firsthand that they’re not the greatest self-esteem builders.

But finally, a warm, more personal rejection letter came in the mail to the laundry worker, stating that, although his work was not good enough at this point to warrant publishing, he had promise as a writer and he should keep writing.

He forwarded two more manuscripts to the same friendly-yet-rejecting publisher over the next 18 months, and as before, he struck out with both of them. Finances got so tight for the young couple that they had to disconnect their telephone to pay for medicine for their baby.

Feeling totally discouraged, he threw his latest manuscript into the garbage. His wife, totally committed to his life goals and believing in his talent, took the manuscript out of the trash and sent it to Doubleday, the publisher who had sent the friendly rejections. The book, titled Carrie, sold over 5 million copies and, as a movie, became one of the top-grossing films in 1976. The laundry worker, of course, was Stephen King.

Think back to a time in your life you have found difficult. Try to see what you gained as a result what you learned, what strength you found even in the most trying time — or what strength you find now in your having overcome it. Perhaps you may never have been aware of what you gained until you think about it now. The Chinese have a saying: “Eat bitter to taste sweet.” It means that by living through painful times, we can become stronger people. I certainly agree with this, and the transformation depends on our ability to discover something beyond the pain.


Source: Psychology of Motivation by Dr. Denis Waitley. Learn more at www.AdvantEdgeMag.com/Waitley today.

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"First say to yourself what you would be: and then do what you have to do."

- Epictitus

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