A Love Affair with Failure

“Would you like me to give you a formula for success?

It’s quite simple, really. Double your rate of failure.

You are thinking of failure as the enemy of success.

But it isn’t at all. You can be discouraged by failure or you can learn from it.

So go ahead and make mistakes.

Make all you can.

Because remember that’s where you will find success.”

 

~ Thomas J. Watson Sr. (Founder, IBM)

 

Here’s the truth.

I have failed all my life.

Here’s my other little secret.

I love failure.

Failure and success are the same damn thing.  We just malign failure and celebrate success.  We’re judgmental creatures.  We live by a system of weights and measures.  We’re in denial.

Looking back, my pattern is simple:  failure, failure, persistence, failure, stubborn persistence, failure, rejection, staying the course, failure, persistence, mentoring, persistence, more mentoring, success, oops – a little more failure, more mentoring, even more success (the hard work is a given, a constant, never forget that), and a dash of failure again, always leading to bigger successes.

We are put here to learn, to become better and more dimensional beings.  Our time is limited.  Every day counts.  There comes a moment when each of us must choose to retire our ‘internal tapes’, quit acting out old habits that don’t serve or enrich or deliver successful results.

Failure energizes me.  Failure teaches me my most valuable lessons, makes me re-commit to belief in self, to internal and external goals.  Failure is an essential ingredient to enduring success.  Failure and success live in the same house, always will.

I was rejected from law school.  Did I become an attorney ?  Yes !

Every film I’ve ever produced was a failure many times before it came together creatively or as a business matter.  Did I get films produced ?  Yes !

Is failure 100% to be desired ?  Yes !   If you’re not trying, learning, failing, then you’re not in the game.  Failure (not a negative, not a pejorative or judgement, just falling shy of your ultimate goal) means you’re on the road to success.  Most just quite a few yards shy of their goal, not realizing the hard work’s already been done.

If you want to impact ever greater numbers of people, don’t fear failure and don’t give it a bad rap when it comes along.  Be grateful.

Success is our destination, ‘no’ is simply how we get there.