Curated Leadership for Today's World

why i love to fail

Posted on 20 March 2012

motivationalchurhillenthusiasmA young salesman asked an old-timer how he had managed to be so successful. The old timer replied “Good Judgment.” The young man then asked, “Well how do you get good judgment?” The old timer replied, “Experience.” The young man, eager to learn all he could, pressed on. “Well how do you get experience?” To which the old man replied, “Poor judgment.”

When a person begins to grow, the obstacles become bigger and better! And so do the failures. In his bestselling book, Life Is Tremendous, author Charlie “Tremendous” Jones states that we are all born with an empty psychological key ring by our side. Every experience we have in life gives us another key which we can use to move forward. Of note, failures give you double the amount of keys as successes do.

Life is tough even for the wealthiest, healthiest and smartest of us. It just is. I love Sydney J. Harris’ quote, “When I hear somebody sigh that life is hard, I am always tempted to ask, “Compared to what?” Most people are miserable because they expect everything to go right. Plan on your plan going wrong and you’ll have a successful plan! God never breaks us down with problems except to build us up. Life isn’t to be happy—life is to be growing. And we all know there is no such thing as growth without pain.

My father always said that a sure-fire growth formula was to cram fifty years of failure into fifteen. He was right; boy was he right. In the end, it’ll all be okay; if it’s not okay, it’s not the end. So next time you fail, remember: you are in the company of the greatest individuals who have ever lived because you have stepped outside your comfort zone and become more tremendous than you were before.


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  • Kat: February 20, 2016

    Tracey, I love this – thank you for posting today – May I have permission to quote you in a training class I will be conducting for emerging leaders in my company? It tells a tale of my journey – and any other references you have to share would be Greatly appreciated!! Not only do I love to fail, but I LOVE Tremendous Success!!
    BLessings to you today!

  • Web Happy (@web_happy): February 20, 2016

    Tracey, thanks for sharing this amazing story. I truly believe that this should be required reading for ALL students in grade school, middle school and again in high school. College students should be required to share their ideas on this topic. If we can ALL be prepared and understand this lesson, what an amazing and TREMENDOUS life we will ALL enjoy outside our own comfort zones ;-)

  • traceyjones: February 20, 2016

    Thanks so much Mike. I very much appreciate your reading and commenting. Nice to meet a kindred spirit on the road to leadership:-)

  • traceyjones: February 20, 2016

    You are most welcome Kat! And I would be honored for you to share this with other emerging leaders like us that need to view failure as the greatest gift of all:-) Thank you for reading and commenting and for your blessings!

  • Mike Barratt: February 20, 2016

    Love the story and couldn’t agree more about stepping out of you comfort zone and learning how not to fail. Thanks!

  • traceyjones: February 20, 2016

    Thanks for your comments Mark and for being a fellow traveler on the road to success who has been a tremendous encouragement:-)

  • Mark Armstrong: February 20, 2016

    Superb, Tracey.

    Loved it all, starting with that wonderful Churchill quote— gotta keep that ol’ enthusiasm fired up!!

    And that line about misery being the direct result of assuming things will go right… boy, if I had a nickel for every time I’ve forgotten that basic truth, they’d be calling me Old Moneybags!

    I read something not too long ago about the need to fail as quickly as possible. Just what your dad was saying, really: success depends on learning from failure, so you might as well hop to it. He was a wise man, and I’m sure he’s mighty proud of you.

    Finally: I loved the line: “In the end, it’ll all be okay; if it’s not okay, it’s not the end.” What a beautiful combo of good psychology and faith.

  • traceyjones: February 20, 2016

    You are most welcome Pat! Seems we get so seized up with fear of failure and we could just truly learn to embrace it imagine what a future we could build. And I agree, the younger you hear this and again and again, the better. I know my Dad started me on this from the time I could crawl:-) And I finally get it!!

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