Be A World Class Failure!


Recently I was speaking to a group of young adults about success principles and I asked them how many loved to win. Without hesitation, their hands thrust high into the air and screamed a collective, “I DO!” Then I asked, “How many of you like to fail?” Needless to say, this question was followed by silence in which you could hear a pin drop. They were all startled and confused by my next statement, “If you don’t know how to fail, you’ll never be a winner.”


In the great U.S. of A, winning seems to be everything. We are the most powerful, wealthy and successful country the world has ever seen to date. Winning has become so important to most, they will do anything to achieve it. Common day revelations of performance enhancing drugs in sports, corporate corruption, political shenanigans, and win-at-all-cost attitudes have brought down many of our most esteemed examples of “success”. True champions understand the paradox of success. That in order to win, you're going to become good friends with failure. Success and failure are like night and day—you can’t have one without the other.


History is littered with world-class failures. I mean, look at the list of this motley crew:

  • Michelangelo

  • Abraham Lincoln

  • Thomas Edison

  • Henry Ford

  • Steve Jobs

Talk about a bunch of losers!


Michelangelo's contemporary competitors thought they could set him up to fail by persuading Pope Julius II to assign him the job of painting the Sistine Chapel. As a sculptor he was 'decent', but painting a fresco on a tunnel-vaulted ceiling? Ain't got a snowballs chance in hell. Illinois very own Honest Abe…where do we start? The failed business, nervous breakdown, political career, death of his sweetheart—take your pick.Thomas Edison was such a dimwitted failure that it took him over 10,000 times to figure out the simple light bulb! Henry Ford, hoo boy, how many times do you have to get oil all over your kitchen to figure out, “no one wants a dang motorized carriage, buddy?” Steve Jobs, (a.k.a., nut job to some), couldn’t even get through college AND he was fired from the company HE started. Who does that and gets anywhere in life?


Pretty unimpressive group up there, huh? I don’t know about you, but despite their 'failures', they’ve all seemed to have done alright for themselves. And no surprise, we’ve all benefitted greatly from the failures that led to great success. Like night and day—can’t have one without the other.


Fact of the matter is "failure" is on the way and not in way. I all depends on your perspective. If you look at failure being the opposite of success, you'll do whatever's needed to avoid it since your moving away from what you desire. If you look at it as a necessary learning event towards getting what you want, you know you have to go through it to reach success.

I know it sounds crazy, but it doesn’t take a lot to make a big difference. Look at Edison; one light bulb and the world can see in the dark (without burning down our homes). All we need are a few people willing to be world-class failures so that the entire human race can win.


I’m all in…how about you?


Believe…