Three Pillars of Success: The Second is Try Even if You Might Fail

I started off this series letting you know that I went to speak to some high school seniors who were struggling a bit with all the choices they had in front of them. Their teacher, who let me add here is a GREAT teacher for recognizing this, wanted them to know that success is not a straight line. That life is a journey and each path and turn teaches us something along the way.

Before I spoke with them I thought a bit about what does make someone successful and I came up with three key concepts. Last week we talked about the first one – to work hard and put in the hours. Today’s pillar is to try even if there’s a possibility you will fail. That sounds like common sense in some ways but it’s something we all find difficulty in doing. We will go to try to start something and then tell ourselves that, “well I can’t do that because I don’t know how to do it.” Well how do you learn to do it if you don’t try?

Olympic skiers did not ski down that hill the first time perfectly — they likely fell on their butt! If you don’t try you’re never going to improve. Extraordinarily successful people – the presidents of the world, multi-billion entrepreneurs — took major risks and were probably told more than once that would not succeed and they had to tell themselves that yes I can. I may not do it perfectly the first time but I will do it better than I did the first time I tried.

If you think about children they stand up for the first time and always fall down. But they don’t sit on their butt and not try again. They get up and do just a tiny bit better the second time with what they learned from their first attempt. I like thinking of fail as the First Attempt In Learning.

So the second pillar of success is to try things even if you aren’t sure you’re going to succeed. You might fail and that’s okay. When and if you fail, you then have the opportunity and the responsibility to make a decision — to try again or decide that the attempt was a good way to learn but you need take a different approach the second time. It’s when we take the risk to try something new that the good stuff happens.

Want to know the other Pillars of Success? Check them out here — First Pillar and Third.

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