This morning I was struggling to find a way to start this blog, when an email popped up on my screen from one of my graduates and the first words I saw were, “If you’re afraid of dying – innovate; If you want to live – evolve”. Those words, and I don’t know who the source is, so perfectly describe what I want to share with you today and that is any great success in life is usually preceded by struggle.
When life and plans don’t turn out the way we expect it’s very easy to play the blame game, give up and walk away, usually settling for less than we really want. There is a better way and it’s one I have used time and time again, that is to use your setbacks and struggles to be innovative and evolve.
Failure and struggle is how we learn
Trial and error is how we learn. Struggle can motivate us. But when people are so afraid of failing they don’t even try. If you never have any errors, you also don’t have any successes either.
Some success can be a drawback too. When you need to maintain your reputation as an achiever, you may be afraid to make mistakes and hence you stop trying.
Like it or not the world is changing and we have to keep us or suffer the consequences. On a personal level the consequences are that we disconnect from others and the world we live in, on a business level it means death. In the 1920’s the average lifespan for a major company was 67 years, now it is just 15 years.
There is an inspirational poster created by the Wall Street Journal on struggle and success which says:
Don’t be afraid to fail
- You’ve failed many times, although you may not remember.
- You fell down the first time you tried to walk.
- You almost drowned the first time you tried to swim.
- Did you hit the ball the first time you swung a bat? Heavy hitters, the ones who hit the most home runs, also strike out a lot.
- Were you able to skate or jump rope the first time you tried?
- H. Macy failed seven times before his store in New York caught on.
- 3M Corporation, one of the most successful companies in the world, was a dismal failure during its first 10 years.
- English novelist John Creasey got 753 rejection slips before he published 564 books.
- Babe Ruth struck out 1,330 times, but he also hit 714 home runs.
- Don’t worry about failure.
- Worry about the chances you miss when you don’t even try.
It’s impossible to achieve great success without some struggle. Every problem holds within it the seed for greater happiness and success. Every weakness has the potential to become your greatest strength. Embrace your struggles, thank them, and look for the good. And remember, someone else will get your dreams, why not you?