The Difference In Failing And Being A Failure

Everything is on big display these days in time. Social media and google expose us to the large world in which we find ourselves living. This has increased the fear of failure for many people. However…

Behind every success story is a man or a woman who would not quit in the midst of failing.

How many world records have been broken by the very people that failed to break them on the initial attempt? How many massively successful entrepreneurs failed at their first business venture? How many Olympic Gold Medalists were in the Olympics the season prior with no medal victories? How many famous inventors first invented something that failed? How many successful investors lost money when they were learning how to invest? The vast majority by an astronomical margin. The average success story didn’t start out as one.

• J.K. Rowling, author of Harry Potter series of books, was a divorcee, jobless, a single parent and as poor as it gets in Great Brittain without being completely homeless.
• Steve Jobs, founder of Apple, was fired from his own company.
• Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft, was a Harvard dropout.
• Albert Einstein could not speak fluently at age 9 and got expelled from school.
• Abraham Lincoln failed in business, had a nervous breakdown five years later, and got defeated in his run for president before being elected.
• Michael Jordan got cut from his high school basketball team.
• Steven Spielberg got rejected from University of Southern California 3 times.
• Walt Disney filed bankruptcy and got fired from a newspaper for “not being creative enough.”

The list goes on and on.

In Malcom Gladwell’s book The Outliers he states that it takes 10,000 hours on average before you make a massive breakthrough.

In Seth Godin’s book The Dip, he states, “The next time you catch yourself being average when you feel like quitting, realize that you have only two good choices: Quit or be exceptional. Average is for losers.” He also writes in his book The Purple Cow, “Not taking risks is riskier than taking risks.”

All successful, courageous people have to deal with many failures along the way. They have to deal with critics, naysayers, public humiliation, false rumors, etc., but they do it anyway. And this is not because they are immune to feeling hurt; they all feel hurt. They just move forward anyway.

Jim John once asked a great question: “How long should a baby try to learn how to walk? How long would you give the average baby before you say, “That’s it. You’ve had your chance”? As long as it takes. No wonder everyone learns to walk.”

Most people stay in their comfort zone, and those that stay in their comfort zone get an average result in that area of their lives in which they remain comfortable. And what is the average result? Far less than you truly desire. None of us just want average. We don’t want an average health, an average meal, and average spiritual connection, an average marriage, average kids, average income, average bodies, or average anything else for that matter. If we did, the average family wouldn’t be in debt because the average family wouldn’t buy things they couldn’t afford in the first place.

With that being said, average people that stay in their comfort zone will likely point you out when you step out of yours. You have to be willing to be vulnerable enough to get out of the herd of average and step on out on a limb. The limb, by the way, is where all the fruit is. Be willing to accept criticism and even false talk from those that remain average. Many of them would rather talk about you then take action themselves. This is why you cannot take it too personally. Most naysayers are really naysaying themselves, there’s just an invisible mirror between you and them.

So when you get a taste of defeat, smile, pick yourself up and move forward. You are headed in the direction of a breakthrough.

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Kevin Mohler

A globally recognized author, trainer and speaker in personal development, business, management, health, and philosophy.