If you were to examine the lives of some of the most successful people, you’d find many pathways marked by failure.
Take Abraham Lincoln. “He failed all the way to the White House,” says JetBlue Chairman Joel Peterson in his recent LinkedIn post. Look at Steve Jobs, who was fired by Apple, the company he co-founded, in 1985. Or Dr. Seuss, who had his first book rejected by 27 different publishers.
So, if and when you ever feel like you’re failing, remember that you’re in the company of the world’s greatest leaders, inventors, businesspeople, and reformers, Peterson says. “And think of failure not as a sign of weakness, but as the valuable raw material from which you can forge success.”
Here are three things to remember when you hit a bump in the road:
There’s important information in failure. Remember that failing is a learning experience. “It was Thomas Edison who declared, ‘I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work,’” Peterson says. “He followed up with, ‘Negative results are just what I want. They’re just as valuable to me as positive results.’” Maintain this type of attitude and you'll be more likely to succeed.
The worst will pass more quickly than you think. Move forward, Peterson suggests. And remember that there’s a good chance you’ll eventually look back at your struggle as something you’d not wish on your worst enemy — but also as something that was crucial to your own development and success. “Many failures are devastating, but if you proceed with integrity and refuse to let setbacks change your spirit, you may rebound stronger than ever.”
You need to accept responsibility. Peterson says he was once involved in a conflict that he had concluded was entirely the responsibility of another party. “A wise woman asked me, ‘What did you contribute to this unhappy situation?’ At first, my answer was, ‘Nothing.’ But as I reflected on things, I could see I’d been a ‘joint venture partner’ in my distress.” Assessing our own role in setbacks will not only help you avoid similar problems in the future, but it can also keep failure from “spawning victimhood,” he concludes.
Click here to read the full LinkedIn post.
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