Success Is Inevitable — Unless We Give Up

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“Champions know that success is inevitable; that there is no such thing as failure, only feedback.  They know that the best way to forecast the future is to create it.”

–     Michael Gelb (b. 1952), author and speaker on innovation and creativity

“…no such thing as failure, only feedback.”

Annnnnnnnnnnnnnnd, he dropped the mic.  (Editor’s Note:  I don’t know if he actually drops the mic at this point.  I just know he should…)

When we’re born, we don’t know failure.  Watch an infant who’s just learning to walk.  Instinctively, they know they’re going to get up and waddle over to that basket of neatly folded laundry and tip it over, maybe just…not…right….now…

They press up, they take a step, the fall.  (Since they don’t know failure, it’s feedback:  “Felt like I was leaning a little left there,” they say to themselves, instinctively.  “I’ll adjust…”)  They press up, they take a step, maybe a step and a half and they fall…  Rinse.  Repeat.  Pretty soon, they’ve rambled across the floor and are playing joyfully among the recently neatly folded t-shirts.

They don’t know failure.  The only know feedback.

We wreck them as parents; “Be careful or you might fall!”.  Our education system further wrecks them.  Their peers, also wrecked by their parents and the same system, wreck them even further.  “Dude, epic fail!” they say as the skateboard goes one way and the kid the other…  They laugh derisively, and maybe Junior doesn’t get back on the board…

And finally, when they / we get into their / our careers, they / we start something new with a clear picture of what failure looks like, but a missing perspective on success.

The differentiator is in those that refuse to see the wind.  (In the Bible, (Matthew, Chapter 14) Peter sees Jesus walking across the water, towards the disciples’ boat, which is being tossed about in the storm.  Acting on Faith, he steps out to walk toward Jesus, and even after a few successful steps “Peter sees the wind,” freaks out and begins to sink…)  Champions refuse to see the wind.  They know that success is inevitable.

When we embrace as feedback what we’ve historically considered to be failure, we rise above the rest.  We become the Abe Lincoln, Thomas Edison, George Patton, Muhammad Ali, Michael Jordan, Serena Williams or Michael Phelps of the moment.  We inspire those around us and we raise the bar for everyone.  We change the game by leveraging the feedback.

Success really is inevitable, as long as we press up, steel our resolve and take another step forward, our eyes firmly fixed on the prize.  Success really is inevitable.  Unless we give up.


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