It’s okay to fail. In fact, I highly recommend failing. A person can’t fully appreciate the sweetness of success without first experiencing the bitter taste of failure. I would even say that if you haven’t failed, you aren’t really trying.
So what makes failing so appealing in our quest for success? The secret is to never quit. As long as you continue to strive toward your goal of success and refuse to quit, you haven’t really failed. Instead, use these temporary setbacks as a means to gauge your progress. Quitting is easy. Rebounding from a failure can be difficult; but worth the effort.
In 1954 Elvis Presley performed on stage at the Hi Hat Club in Memphis. Eddie Bond, a local musician, listened to Presley play two songs and gave Elvis advice about his future as a singer. Bond told Presley to stick to driving a truck, “because you’re never going to make it as a singer.”
What would have happened if Elvis Presley quit playing music and took the recommendation of Eddie Bond? The music world would have been denied thirty number one hit records by a former truck driver who would earn the title; The King of Rock and Roll.
After receiving his first Social Security check, a 65-year-old Harland Sanders decided that retirement wasn’t an option. Sanders had two things going for him; a secret fried chicken recipe and a fierce determination to succeed. He went door to door trying to sell his unique chicken recipe to restaurant owners. Sadly, there wasn’t the interest Sanders had expected. In fact, the recipe was rejected over 1,000 times.
But this didn’t deter Harland Sanders. On the 1,009th sales call Sanders found this first franchise partner. When Harland “Colonel” Sanders died at the age of 90 he was worth $3.5 million. What would have happened if Sanders had called it quits after sales call 10, or 100, or 1,000? The finger lickin’ good taste of Kentucky Fried Chicken would have never been enjoyed by the hungry consumers of America.
The year was 1952. Florence Chadwick attempted to swim the 26 miles between Catalina Island and the California coastline. After swimming for about 15 hours a thick fog set in. Chadwick swam for another hour before asking to be pulled out of the water. What caused her to stop? Florence was unable to see the coastline due to the fog.
As she sat in the recovery boat, Chadwick found out she had quit swimming just one mile away from Catalina Island. Florence had stopped because she could no longer see her final destination. The truth is many people quite after losing sight of their goals.
Although she may have failed to complete her first attempt at swimming the 26-mile challenge, two months later Chadwick tried again. This time the result was different. Although a thick fog once again set in, Florence didn’t quit. Instead of focusing on what she couldn’t see, this time Florence kept a mental image of the shoreline in her mind while she swam. Yes, she may have failed to complete her initial swim challenge between Catalina Island and the California Coast, but her personal drive to try again helped to overcome that first failed attempt. Florence Chadwick’s ultimate success and determination not to quit is what people will always remember.
Occasional failure helps to remind us that we are one step closer to reaching our goal. Elvis Presley, Harland Sanders and Florence all refused to quit. As the famous Vince Lombardi said, “Winners never quit and quitters never win.” The key to success is to remember that failures are only temporary setbacks.