What do you do when you fall down? You get up of course. It’s easier said than done when you put it in a leadership or business context but it can be done. With the right mindset and attitude, being a failure can be a factor in your success. Experiences from constantly failing can be a source of strength. Throughout history, there have been failures who just wouldn’t give up. They kept on pushing until they succeeded. You might be thinking that those feats were accomplished because those individuals were special. Far from it. If you look at the most successful leaders in history, they came from humble beginnings and did not succeed right off the bat. They just chose to thrive instead of just survive.
We as human beings are wired to thrive and not just survive. It is coded in our DNA. Look back at your own life. How many failures have you encountered? How many challenges have you failed to overcome? How many goals did you not achieve? We are failures at some point in our lives yet we are still here. We are still striving to achieve success. We are still setting goals after achieving the previous ones. With that said, let’s take a look at famous successful people and how they failed before succeeding.
What do you usually associate with the word “genius”? 99% of the time you would probably come up with an image of Albert Einstein. The man is an icon. Not only in the field of science but in popular culture as well. His work paved the way for us to have a greater understanding of how the universe works. He developed several fundamentals core laws governing physics and created the beginnings of quantum theory. With all those achievements, it’s mind-blowing that he was once considered a failure. He did not learn to speak until he was 4 years old. He failed to pass the entrance exam into the Swiss Federal Polytechnic school and nearly dropped out of college. His own father even considered him to be a major failure. Yet despite all of these, his face is the one that we most closely associate with being a genius.
Theodor Seuss Geisel
How the Grinch Stole Christmas! and Green Eggs and Ham. These are just some of Theodor Seuss Geisel or Dr. Seuss’ famous works. In total, his books sold over 600 million copies and translated into more than 20 languages. In short, he made it. That was not always the case. His first foray into literature was a failure. He was tasked to illustrate a book that ended up selling poorly. However, it gave him the taste for writing children’s books. Did he succeed the second time? No. He wrote his first book in 1937 and was rejected by 27 publishers until it was taken up by Vanguard Press. Was the book a success? No. He only experienced actual success 20 years after the publishing of his first book. In 1957, he wrote a book called The Cat in the Hat and the rest is history.
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