Failure, a myth (a motivation rant from 6 years ago…)

Had a pretty rough week. And on more than a couple of occasions, I was reminded of “customer service” and the “stories” people tell. Two separate thoughts. And I won’t even talk about them here!

Stories reminded me of Zig Ziglar and an email exchange I’ve had with his daughter. I conveyed my regards to her husband, whom I deeply admired. And I didn’t even know him personally or otherwise. Just through one of Zig’s favorite stories. I will save the rest for another post if I ever am able to locate that email.

That said, my Gmail account turned up with this speech script that I’d delivered at a Toastmasters club six years back. I hope you find this valuable. It was a motivational speech and although I’ve moved away from delivering those kinds of speeches, the essence remains pure. Because my heart was in it.

Here it goes!

What is Failure? How do you define it? The Merriam‐Webster dictionary defines ‘failure’ as ‘lack of success’ … Do you really think there’s a thing called failure? Do you really think one can actually fail? Tell you what, I think ‘failure’ is nothing but a stupid social norm with absolutely no foundation! Failure is a myth. It’s a mindset not a tangible reality. Zig Ziglar said it so well, ‘Failure is an event, not a person’

When I was 16 I was fired from my first job, just three days after I joined! I had to face 26 interviews before I was handed my next appointment letter. Looking at me know, 10 years later do you think I could have been a failure once? I never accepted my state of employment … I just went on to look for other opportunities, on and on, day in and day out … and finally on the 14th consecutive day, I got what I’d been looking for. Do you think I failed? No, I didn’t. I learned a lesson – persistence pays.

Many many years back, a person by the name of R.U. Darby during the years of Gold Rush went to the west to dig gold and strike a fortune – unfortunately, he wasn’t persistent enough and stopped just three feet from the gold. Was he a failure? No he wasn’t, many years later, Mr. Darby did recuperate his loss many times over and stated that if it hadn’t been for the lost fortune, he would have never made it big in the business of life insurance. Mr. Darby was a member of one of the coveted fraternity in the Insurance Industry, the Million Dollar Round Table. He too owes his success to persistence, in his own words, ” his ‘stickability’ to the lesson he learned from his ‘quitability’ in the gold mining business”.

Thomas Edison, one of the greatest inventors of the 20th century failed 10,000 times during his quest to invent the world’s first incandescent lamp. Can you imagine failing 3 times in row at any given task? It’s takes more than courage, it takes persistence – a dogged determination to stick with your goal despite failing 10,000 times. Now some of us might, rationalize (or tell rational lies to ourselves) saying well he was a great scientist and we’re just ordinary human beings. Tell you what, he wasn’t a scientist when he was born. Heck, he didn’t even have three months of schooling. He wasn’t even a scientist in real sense! However he had the desire to become a great inventor and that’s it! He then transmuted his desire to become a reality – and folks, one can only do that if you have persistence. failure is a myth – it’s to be believed to be experienced, if you refuse to accept it, it just cannot survive. Remember someone said, ‘the greatest enemy of failure is persistence’ – you will realize that it’s so true if you study the lives of the great ones who’ve walked on earth before us.

Why do we succumb to failure in the first place? Lack of determination or a well thought‐out plan of action to follow are the most common, and the most important reason for failure. If you’re not succeeded there’s gotta be something which needs to be fixed – and it most definitely is your plan of action, there’s something which is stopping you just three feet from the gold. Find it. I didn’t say ‘Try to find it’, because I know it’s already there and you WILL find it if you persist enough because if you don’t failure will inevitably dominate you.

If you think my thoughts are too radical or idealistic, well then try to imagine a 10 month old child, it will begin to crawl first and then would try to get up, only to fall down, and again it would get up, only to fall down again and the cycle continues when it’s able not only to walk, but to run as well. Imagine how the world would look like if these 10 month olds didn’t have enough persistence to get up again after losing their balance?

Persistence is deep coded in our DNA, we just need to practice it more often until we succeed to make it work. All of us can, if we THINK we can. Failure is simply a myth, don’t be fooled by it. It goes without saying, it’s not easy – but life in general isn’t, is it? Often the difference between the good to great is the desire to persist until success is inevitable.

Winston Churchill once said, ‘Success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm’.

Thanks for reading through it… and yeah, I know… it’s slightly over the top. But you live and learn. Thankfully, I have.