Posts Tagged ‘high performance’

Understand your shortcomings and you will understand failure

The super successful also have a different take on failure.

Failure is what happens when you do something. The greatest successes in the world also experienced the greatest failures. The all-time strikeout record in major league baseball is held by … Babe Ruth. But we don’t remember him for his strikeouts. We remember him for setting a home run record that stood for decades. No one cares about his strikeouts. The point is he kept swinging the damn bat! Most of us never get out of the dugout—let alone up to the plate. Those people not only wonder why they never hit a home run—and even begrudge the determined hitters who do!

The key to success is understanding your shortcomings

Donald Trump has lost billions in his financial deals. But who cares. He has made billions more with his successful ventures, and he just keeps swinging the bat. After stumbling into the New World, Christopher Columbus failed in his subsequent
explorations and died a poor and disappointed man. But on Columbus Day do we celebrate his dying destitute? Of course not. We celebrate his success.

This reminds me of a story about Tom Watson, Sr., founder of IBM, being asked by a young management trainee, “Sir, how do I get to the top of the management ladder here?” Watson replied immediately, “Double your failure rate, son. Double your failure rate.” His point was, of course, that more failures could only result from more tries, more initiative, more risk taking … all the actions required for growth. Most of Thomas Edison’s experiments failed miserably— thousands of them. He thought direct electrical current was the answer to lighting the world, and that alternating current was
a passing fad. He was wrong. And nobody cares. Instead, we’re indebted to Edison’s genius and his determination whenever we turn on a light bulb or hear recorded music, watch a film. For the super successful, failure is a valuable lesson. It’s a road not to take again, or at least under the same conditions. And then they move on. Failure is nothing more than testing. As Edison said, “Success is 99% perspiration and 1% inspiration.”

To the high performance person, “Fear” is “False Expectations Appearing Real.”

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