3 Thoughts on Failure

Originally Published January 30th, 2019

“If you don’t have much going wrong in your life, then you don’t have much going on in your life.” —Larry Winget


I was recently asked by a coworker if I believed in people who had failed in life. We were talking about the self help author and motivational speaker Larry Winget. Before he became a famous public speaker & life coach, he failed as an entrepreneur.

“Do you think you could trust a person who has failed so much?”

I thought about the question and quickly responded—yes. People who fail are definitely worth listening to. They’re the ones who are taking risks. If you’re taking risks in life, there will inevitably be some failures along the way.

Without failure there is no achievement. —John C. Maxwell

The Greats Fail

Kerouac’s book On The Road was drafted in 1951 and wasn’t published until 1957—6 years later.

Thinking back on my literary heroes—most of them failed at some point in their careers. Kerouac, Bukowski, Vonnegut, King, Pressfield—all had failures. It took Bukowski 30 years to get published—30 years of writing every day.

There are so many entrepreneurial fail stories:

Steve Jobs was fired from Apple—the company he help found.
Dave Ramsey became rich, then broke, then rich again.
Walt Disney failed numerous times, had characters stolen, rejected, and was fired from a newspaper for “lack of creativity”.
Tim Ferris’s book The Four Hour Workweek was turned down by 26 different publishers before becoming a best seller. 

Despite their failures—all these folks went on to achieve great things. What’s more inspiring than someone who overcomes failures in order to succeed?

Failure Means You’re Learning


I can accept failure, everyone fails at something. But I can’t accept not trying. —Michael Jordan

Want to avoid failure? Sit at home on your couch and don’t do anything.

Trying means you’re likely to fail at some point along the way. Even if it’s just a minor mistake—failure is part of the learning process.

“Failure always brings something valuable with it. I don’t let it leave until I extract that value.” —Scott Adams

The fool is the hero. 

One of the most important lessons I’ve learned in the past several years is that if you want to learn—you’re going to look foolish—you’re going to fail.

I’m open to failure because I’m open to learning—being curious means I’m going to look like a doofus—and I’m ok with that.

Failure is an Opportunity to Grow


Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently. —Henry Ford

One of my favorite podcasters, Jocko Willink, has this inspiring youtube video “Good“.

“When things are going bad, there’s going to be some good that’s going to come from it. Didn’t get promoted—good, more time to get better. Mission got canceled—good, we can focus on another one.” —Jocko

Want to have an empowering outlook on life? Treat failures as opportunities.

If you fail at something—grow—course correct and move on.

Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts. —Winston Churchill

Don’t fear failure, embrace it.
Let doubt prevail!




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