A successful man is always asked: “What is the secret of your success?”
No surprise really that people never ask someone that has failed: “What is the secret of your failure”?
Let’s explore this question anyway. I will first take the words failure and success, crucial in the question. The word failure has a dictionary explanation and the word comes originally from the Old French verb “faillire“. This means be lacking, miss, not succeed. The word secret is Latin “secretus” which is set apart, withdrawn or hidden.
If I use those explanations with this question, an interesting result arises: What is hidden (secret) so that you don’t succeed or miss (fail)?
When writing this post I have to think of another post that I read. Check out the full story here. In short this web-log owner, Subba Iyer, drives to the airport in a taxi. The driver is an interesting fellow and the content of his talk are almost a MBA lesson. At one point the taxi driver says:
“I often say that I am a happy driver. Some people say, ‘That’s because you earn a lot of money. Of course, you must be happy.’ I tell them, ‘You are wrong. This is because I have a happy and active mind, and that is why I make a lot of money.’”
This quote reminds me about failure too. What is it that the mind does, what is it that we don’t know, use or think so that the result is failure?
1. Thoughts about success. If you think you will fail, what happens? The odds are high that you fail after all. I struggle with this one myself. In new age talks you often hear about the idea that you create your own reality.
I love this concept and I am also highly frustrated by it. So often I used affirmations, and positive thinking and all those other techniques. Still the result would be failure. However in retrospect none of those failures were really failures. They made me aware of something that I did not know before. They taught me something else: I can ask for what I want though, but I do not always get what I want. I get what I need.
2. Thoughts about failure. How can we use a failure? First of all I would say it is an experience with an outcome that is not favourable when I have the experience. I expected another result and that did not manifest. It might well be the best outcome at the time. I can use the failure to learn from it. This holds true for all experiences. If I failed, I can use the experience and not look back anymore.
What happens if I keep stressing the point what I did wrong? I get more and more upset. After time only I am able to look at the other side of the experience “What did I do right?”.
3. Desire, faith and imagination. What are the reasons that we want a particular success? What ideas do we carry about success? What expectations are present? Is the desire genuine, where does it come from? Interesting subject. Why do you want success anyway? If the desire for success is really about fixing a life you are not happy about, would it become successful?
Would you be happy when you have success? Is being successful better than having just a nice life? I don’t know. And then again what is success anyway? My uncle always says “You can only eat one huge t-bone steak a day”.
4. Being active. Sit still and do nothing. Has your dream come true? Your mind will have to be active some way or another to get your dream for success going. Not just once, but often. Fear for success is present within all of us, one way or another.
Napoleon Hill in his book “Think and grow rich” interviews successful people and they mention six fears. Fear of poverty, criticism, ill health, loss of love, old age and worry. O dear, this sounds awful. Do I have to think about that too?
What is the secret of your failing? Did you learn from it? Were you sorry also in retrospect about what happened?