For those that follow my blogs, you know I have been reading and studying the “Law of Success in 16 Lessons” by Napoleon Hill. In lesson 14 titled Failure, the first part of the lesson you learn the difference between failure and temporary defeat. It is not possible to achieve success without experiencing temporary defeat or the layman calls failure. See failure to the successful is nothing more than a learning opportunity. Success cannot be achieved without learning not only what to do, but also what not to do. Failure by the majority of people is a negative term. Failure is only negative if you accept it. If you learn and continue pushing forward you learn that failure is only a temporary defeat, a set-back or a handiwork of reversals. To the successful, the word failure doesn’t exist.
Take the story of Thomas Edison, a very successful inventor during his time. Edison is known for several inventions but possibly his most famous, the electric incandescent light bulb. I understand the controversy between Edison and Tesla, but for the sake of argument, let’s assume Edison did invent the light bulb, undisputed he holds the patent. When a young unnamed reporter interviewed Edison about his quest to inventing the light bulb, he stated “how does it feel to have failed over 10,000 times?” Edison snapped back with “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” Edison invented so many things that it is impossible to go an hour without using one of his inventions like the motion picture camera, recording phonograph, an x-ray machine, mimeograph machine, distribution of electricity to cement used for concrete. Edison held over 1,000 patents and very much understood temporary defeat versus failure. One of my favorite quotes of Thomas Edison is “Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.”
There are endless quotes about perseverance and pushing past your temporary defeats, but we must realize success comes just before we get discouraged and give up. For there is where success resides. To succeed we must resist the temptation of giving up and listening to those family and friends encouraging us to stop. Surround yourself with positive encouraging people and push past the pain of set-backs and above all take the word failure out of your vocabulary.
Yesterday is but a dream,
Tomorrow is only a vision.
But today well lived makes
Every yesterday a dream of happiness,
And every tomorrow a vision of hope.
Look well, therefore, to this day.
—From the Sanskirt
Image by KEKO64 at www.freedigitalphotos.net
Tim Wilhoit is owner/principal of Your Friend 4 Life Insurance Agency in Nashville, TN. He is a family man, father of 3, grandfather of 1, entrepreneur, insurance agent, life insurance broker, employee benefit specialist, salesman, sales trainer, recruiter, public speaker, blogger, author and team leader with over 29 years of experience in sales and marketing in the insurance and beverage industries.