Failure is Winning…Provided You Do It Right


There’s a famous quote that goes, “Ever tried, ever failed? Try again, fail again, fail better.”

There’s a world of truth to that.  For example, if you read about any of the great men in history, such as Lincoln or Edison, what immediately stands out is that they failed a hell of a lot.  Lincoln was fired seven different times from seven different jobs.  One of them was sorting the mail.  This was a guy that went on to not only re-unite a country torn apart through the civil war, but he abolished slavery too, and finished as one of the most revered presidents in American history.

How the hell did he go from Mr. Unemployable to being immortalized on American currency till the end of the time?

It’s actually quite simple in some ways.  He learned from his mistakes, over and over again.  I believe that every time Lincoln failed at something, he was almost delighted. He didn’t see it as a sign that he was doomed to be a loser. He just accepted that he wasn’t quite there yet.  He tried again, he failed again, and he failed better, every time.

Eventually, in his mid-fifties, he went on to get his law degree by studying at home, by himself with books from the local library.  Turns out being unemployed gives a guy a lot of time on his hands, and instead of drowning his sorrows in a bottle of whiskey, Lincoln cracked the books. By that time, he was mature enough, patient enough, to stay the course.  He passed the necessary exams, and went on to be very successful lawyer.  Then he went on to be an even better Commander-In-Chief.

Consider this; when Lincoln was forty, no one gave a rats ass if he lived to see another day on this planet, besides probably his mother.  When he was murdered by John Wilkes Booth, people cried for days. I mean days.  That’s because he didn’t give up. He didn’t let failure define him, but rather, he defined failure.

What do I mean by that, and how can you do the same?

Every time you fail, I would suggest taking a moment to acknowledge it. Embrace the feeling of being worthless, of disappointment and dashed hopes. But only for a moment. Then let it go, and look at what you’ve learned, because you have learned something. You always learn something, even if it’s that you suck at sorting the mail. What does that tell you?

Two things.

First, find another job you can do better, because sorting the mail isn’t your thing. Which is good, because just by realizing that, you instantly move one step closer to finding what your thing is.  The thing that you can kick ass at. That, my friend, isn’t failure. It’s illumination.

Or, if you really want to be a world-class postman, then find out what’s keeping you from doing so. Maybe your left-to-right hand swipe technique on sorting the packages into separate bins isn’t quick enough, or you cant remember how to punch in the right zip codes. Whatever it is, you can always practice, and practice, until you have it down. It just takes time, and patience.  Then? apply for another postal service job, get the job, and do it right. Do it better.

Before long, maybe you won’t be sorting the mail anymore. Maybe, you’ll own the damn place.

Stranger things have happened my friend, all it takes is a little perspective.

Yours in Virtues and Victory,