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Fail Intelligently

Sand for Your Inbox
August 2007

Sometimes things just don’t work out the way you want them to.

Instead of allowing these let-downs get you down, you can learn from them.

Let me elaborate…

It’s happened to us before, and it’ll happen again. Failure.

Something didn’t go as planned or as expected and you’re in a spot where you didn’t want to be.

We don’t like failure. We’re taught failing suggests character flaw. A weakness. Nevertheless, it is inevitable. Sometimes it is your fault. Often it is not.

So, what do we do about it?

The secret to failure is to learn from it. To “fail intelligently” as James Dale puts it in his book: “The Obvious: Everything You Need to Know to Succeed.” He offers…

“Every failure is an MBA on how to do it better next time. Failure doesn’t lead to success. It leads to knowledge, which leads to success.”

Don’t believe me?

Look at this list of failures James mentions in his book:

Henry Ford forgot to put a reverse gear on his first automobile.

Albert Einstein’s parents were told he might be mentally retarded.

Michael Jordan was cut from his high school basketball team.

Elvis Presley didn’t make the glee club.

Napoleon finished near the bottom of his military school class.

The Beatles were turned down for a recording contract by Decca Records.

John Grisham’s first novel was rejected by sixteen agents and a dozen publishers.

If these folks hadn’t learned from their upsets, chances are we never would have heard of them. Don’t let fear of failure hold you back. Life won’t always go smoothly. When it doesn’t, learn from it.

May all your failures be smart ones.

Take care,
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Paul
Paul Williams
professional problem solver
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