People go out in the world and try things everyday. They might try to land a new job, get a girlfriend, start a business, or publish an article. More often than not, they’re met with failure.
Let’s pretend this little hexagon represents failure:
When we encounter failure, no matter what we’re trying to accomplish, it stings. It makes us want to quit, complain, become depressed, and eat a tub of ice cream:
But at the end of the day, when the ice cream is gone and you’ve finished rattling off a whirlwind of complaints, that thing you really want is still sitting out there. You can still go get that thing, but only if you make another effort.
And more often than not, you’ll have to make many more efforts. You’ll have to face failure many times.
The only way to withstand these failures and keep trying to get that thing you want is to avoid complaining, resist the urge to quit, and keep the ice cream locked in the freezer. You’ll have to keep your chin up, chest out, and try again. And again. And again.
At some point, you’ll begin to wonder if the effort is even worth it. You might question your skills and ability.
But subtly, what you haven’t seen along the way are the bits of knowledge you’re sneakily acquiring with each failure. You learn what worked and what didn’t. You see glimpses of what is required to get that thing you want.
Oh, that type of wording didn’t work well in that interview.
That was not the right thing to say to that girl, I should have approached her slightly differently.
Writing that type of email didn’t help me land any new clients, I need to change my wording.
That type of writing style didn’t quite get across to my audience the way I wanted. I need to make adjustments.
Without realizing it, you’re gaining knowledge, experience, and building your skill set. You’re getting better:
Eventually your skills, experience and knowledge will continue to grow until success becomes inevitable:
This process of failing, gaining knowledge, failing again, and gaining more knowledge is how people actually achieve success in the long-run.
Most of us look at successful people and think their life path looks like:
We imagine they’re just out there racking up victories left and right. But actually they’re failing just as much as everyone else. They’re just more willing to move on beyond failure. If we zoom out and look at the life path of most successful people, here’s what we’ll find:
So called “successful” people fail just like the rest of us! But when we look at these people we simply see all their impressive skills and achievements:
This creates a false idea in our heads that successful people have always been successful and that they were simply born with ungodly talent and ability. This deters so many of us from putting forth our best effort. We like to think What’s the point? I dont’ have those skills. I’m not good enough. I just wasn’t born with enough talent.
We don’t see that all successful people have a closet packed full of failures. All the skill they have acquired has been hard-won and earned, it didn’t just appear out of nowhere. Nobody on earth experiences success with every effort.
The one truth that successful people understand, which separates them from the rest of the population is:
Success is built on persistence, not talent.
Your ability to withstand failure, remain resilient, and keep trying will give you a far greater chance of achieving success than talent ever could. The willingness to endure and grow from failure is ultimately what leads to success.
What is it that you want? A new job? A significant other? Your own business? Better finances? A degree? Better skills? More knowledge?
Go out and attempt to get those things. But when you fail, and you will at some point, resist the urge to break out the tub of ice cream and instead keep your chin up, chest out, and try again.
Zach is the author behind Four Pillar Freedom, a blog that teaches you how to build wealth and gain freedom in life.
Zach's favorite free financial tool he's been using since 2015 to manage his net worth is Personal Capital. Each month he uses their free Investment Checkup tool and Retirement Planner to track his investments and ensure that he's on the fast track to financial freedom.
Although the bulk of his net worth is invested in index funds, his favorite place to invest in individual stocks is M1 Finance, a site that allows you to build a custom portfolio of stocks for free.
His favorite way to save money each month on his recurring bills is by using Trim, a free financial app that negotiates lower cable, internet, and phone bills with any provider on your behalf.
His favorite place to find new personal finance articles to read is Collecting Wisdom, a site that collects the best personal finance articles floating around the web on a daily basis.
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