Men are born to succeed, not fail. – Henry David Thoreau
What does that mean?
While some might feel this quote is overly optimistic, I believe it is exactly right. When we are born, we can do nothing. We can hardly breathe.
We can’t feed ourselves unless something is put in our mouths. We’re a mess. Any progress from there is a success. As we grow, we try more things, learn what works and what does not, and have continued success.
Yes, there may be a setback or two (or three, if you’re really unlucky), but eventually you succeed at walking, talking, and feeding yourself. You were not born to fail, although some choose that path.
Life is challenging. Each day brings some old and some new challenges. We easily rise to conquer some of them, others are a bit more difficult. But if we keep learning and keep trying, we will eventually succeed.
Why is persistence important?
To me, there are only two ways to fail, and they are a failure to learn, and a failure to continue. The first results in us doing the same thing over and over again while expecting different results. The other results in giving up, and in failure by quitting.
Even if you cannot get it figured out yourself, you can succeed if you can pave the way for the next person, or inspire others to take up your task. Many endeavors span generations, and many people are gone before the rest of us figure it out and actually cross the finish line.
Other times, it is simply the dogged determination to not give up that brings success. How many thousands of failures did Edison go through before the light-bulb became commercially producible? The number is usually quoted as ten thousand. How many times will you try before you give up? How persistent will you be?
Where can I apply this in my life?
Sometimes declaring something a success depends on how you define success. The legends of Icarus inspired Da Vinci, who inspired a whole series of people, who eventually inspired the Wright Brothers. Was Icarus’ mythical flight a failure or a success?
He may not have flown very far or very well, and by all accounts, ended badly, but humans now do so regularly with a greater margin of safety than he did. Same for Da Vinci. He may or may not have ever managed to get his hang-glider airborne for any length of time, but eventually, others did.
Was Jules Verne successful with his book From the Earth to the Moon? It sold well, I’m told many of the other early books about going to the moon were intriguing, and profitable. However, none of the authors got there.
But they inspired others. At first, it was other story tellers. Then the scientists got involved. Then the Space Race was on, and eventually, humanity touched down on the moon. Neil Armstrong was the first actual success, but I believe all of those who came before him were successful as well.
Consider the athletes of the Special Olympics. Their physical and mental prowess is not what defines success. What is on display and is inspirational is their persistence, and their determination to surmount the obstacles in their lives. To me, that is their success.
Part of remaining persistent is being motivated. When the reason why is sufficiently large, you will keep after it until you discover how to do it. Anything you want to succeed in has to have a reason or motivation behind it. There will be rough patches, and you may even think about quitting.
Your level of motivation will determine if you persist or if you quit. If you can keep at it, you can succeed in some fashion. If you quit, it is most definitely over. What is your motivation? Why do you feel that way? What can you do to help keep your motivation strong?
Another part of being persistent is knowing where you’re going. What are your goals? What are you trying to accomplish? Vague ideas are OK at the very beginning, when you’re just headed ‘over there,’ but as you get closer to the end, you’re going to need a better definition of ‘done’ so you know when to declare success.
We are, indeed, creatures born to succeed. The only times we fail are when we don’t learn or give up. Just don’t define success as walking from America to Africa, right? At least not with today’s technology. Know your goal, and why you are going to get there, no matter what. Then do it. Ahhhh! Sweet success!
From: Twitter, @tonyrobbins
confirmed at : http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/h/henrydavid131254.html
Photo by Houdoken
- Be prepared to fail (zsmithy.wordpress.com)
- Failure + Persist = Success (peterdaniel415.wordpress.com)
- It is wise to keep in mind that neither success nor failure is ever final.
- Three Things To Learn From Failure (psychologytoday.com)