October 19. “Failure is the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently.” (Henry Ford)
No one likes to fail at things. We all prefer a path in life where all the things we attempt are outstanding successes, and we are on the tail of an ever-rising comet to the top. Sadly, life isn’t like that. Even those who live the most charmed, privileged, successful lives have their share of failure. What sets people apart isn’t whether they ever fail, it’s what they do in the face of failure.
History is filled with stories of people who endured their share of failures and defeats, only to rise up and find their success in life. One of those is Henry Ford. His first attempt to form a company to make motor cars ended in bankruptcy and was dissolved. Along the way to building a company he had many attempts at tinkering with engines and chassis that didn’t work out. None of that kept him from reaching for his goals.
Each failure that I endure in life provides the opportunity to learn. By reflecting on, and formally analyzing failure, I can document and learn how to avoid the same mistakes for the future.
But for me, the inspirational part of this quote lies in the first half, “failure provides the opportunity to begin again”. Whether and how much I learn from the failure is important. But it is in the fact that I pick myself up, put myself back together and begin again that determines whether I will ever find success. If I allow a failed attempt to keep me down, then it truly is a failure. But, if I get back on the proverbial horse and start anew, then it is just a step along the path.
Today my reflection is on how fast after failure I pick myself back up and get back in the game. What are the things in my life where I have allowed failure to keep me down rather than starting again, more intelligently?