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Home / Articles / Arts & Entertainment / Celebrities /  Fail, Fail, Fail... Ahh Sweet Success!
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Thursday, May 6,2021

Fail, Fail, Fail... Ahh Sweet Success!

By Liz Sterling  
Setbacks on the path to success are inevitable. What really matters is whether you allow them to bring you down or use them to help build you up.

Did you know the Beatles had early failures? They were rejected by the biggest record company of the era, Decca Records. Had it not been for the drive, momentum and motivation to bring their work into the world, they may have just packed up and returned to Liverpool.

Who else do we know that failed? That’s right, Thomas Edison. It’s believed that he had 10,000 unsuccessful attempts to invent the light bulb before finally succeeding. He had many more inventions according to his close friend Walter S. Mallory. Edison, we learn, had tried 9,000 experiments to create a battery without finding a solution. When Mallory commented about the lack of results, Edison promptly responded, “Results! Why, man, I have gotten a lot of results! I know several thousand things that won’t work!” How many of you know about Dyson’s 5,126 attempts to invent a bagless vacuum cleaner? Look at that success!

We are on the cusp of many new innovations, from the financial industry and the cryptocurrency phenomenon to the digital photographic enhancements that Adobe and the like are using throughout all vectors of marketing – from house buying to small business image building.

Just this morning, I was working with a digital expert to create a Zoom background for my upcoming classes and podcasts. We were able to create a studio image as my backdrop. He added warmth to the room, flowers in a vase, a textured ceiling and a $5,000 microphone set up. Can you believe, a few minutes, a couple of failed attempts and voilą, we got something very nice. Yes, there were a bunch of images that didn’t work, yet there were others that were great. This is a small example of the success that comes with failure.

“You build on failure. You use it as a stepping stone. Close the door on the past. You don’t try to forget the mistakes, but you don’t dwell on it. You don’t let it have any of your energy, or any of your time, or any of your space.”

– Johnny Cash

Who was it that said, “Believe you can and you’re halfway there?” Yes, it was Theodore Roosevelt. Imagine what he had to endure in his 18 years in government and seven years as president following William McKinley’s death in 1901? His accomplishments were often achieved because of great failures. Failure to care for our environment was a huge issue in the early 1900s, so as a conservationist, Roosevelt established the National Park System. The lack of easy trade routes helped him secure and begin construction of the Panama Canal.

In 1902, according to the good old-fashioned Encyclopedia Britannica, Pennsylvania coal miners went on strike. “Roosevelt stepped in to mediate the strike and met with representatives from both sides. He threatened to call in the Army to run the mines, and he put pressure on the mine owners. His tactics worked to end the strike and to gain a modest pay hike for the miners and from that he developed the ‘Square Deal.’” Out of strife came cooperation. Turns out that Roosevelt won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1906 for mediating an end to the Russo-Japanese War that created major impacts in our world and governments because of the failures to protect the people, the land, and the whole of our nation.

I’m an advocate for growth and change. I like the friction that difficult times foster because it makes me work harder to succeed. Think of an oyster that gets irritated by a piece of sand that enters its shell. That is what makes the oyster create a pearl.

So here you have it… work with what you have. Become a potter, and if you get a piece of ugly clay, shape it to make it work for you. We must lift ourselves up, put one foot in front of the other, let failures become the catalyst for moving forward and always fail toward success!


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