January 13, 2009
Rethinking Failure


Tried anything recently that didn't quite work out? Congratulations!
Bottom line, there is no innovation without "failure." If your perception of failure is "something to avoid," you can kiss innovation goodbye. Failure comes with the territory. If the word puts you in a foul mood, try another one -- like "experiment," for example.

"The way to succeed is to double your failure rate."
-- Thomas Watson, Founder of IBM

"Do not fear mistakes. There are none." -- Miles Davis

"99 percent of success is built on failure." -- Charles Kettering

"I have not failed once. I've just found 10,000 ways that didn't work." -- Thomas Edison

"An inventor fails 999 times, and if he succeeds once, he's in. He treats his failures simply as practice shots." -- Charles Kettering

"Give me the young man who has brains enough to make a fool of himself." -- Robert Louis Stevenson

"Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly."
-- Robert F. Kennedy

"Adversity reveals genius, prosperity conceals it." -- Horace

"When we can begin to take our failures non-seriously, it means we are ceasing to be afraid of them. It is of immense importance to laugh at ourselves." -- Katherine Mansfield

"Failure is only the opportunity to begin again more intelligently."
-- Henry Ford

"No matter how well you perform, there's always somebody of intelligent opinion who thinks it's lousy." -- Sir Laurence Olivier

"If your life is free of failures, you're not taking enough risks."
-- H. Jackson Brown

"You may be disappointed if you fail, but you are doomed if you don't try." -- Beverly Sills

"I failed my way to success." -- Thomas Edison

"Act as if it were impossible to fail." -- Dorothea Brande

"Failure is success if we learn from it." -- Malcolm Forbes

"You can only be as good as you dare to be bad."
-- John Barrymore

"The season of failure is the best time for sowing the seeds of success." -- Paramahansa Yogananda

"Failure doesn't mean that you're a failure ... it just means you haven't succeeded yet." -- Robert Schuller

"Never confuse a single defeat with a final defeat."
-- F. Scott Fitzgerald

"Failure is nature's plan to prepare you for great responsibilities."
-- Napoleon Hill

"You may have a fresh start any moment you choose, for this thing that we call 'failure' is not the falling down, but the staying down."-- Mary Pickford

"Never give in, never give in, never, never, never never -- in nothing, great or small, large or petty -- never give in except to convictions of honor and good sense." -- Winston Churchill

"We are not retreating -- we are advancing in another direction."
-- Douglas MacArthur

"I am not discouraged, because every wrong attempt discarded is another step forward." -- Thomas A. Edison

"Fall seven times, stand up eight." -- Japanese Proverb

"Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall." -- Confucius

"Stumbling is not falling." -- Portuguese Proverb

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at January 13, 2009 03:45 AM


Another great post. Very helpful as I take steps in my entrepreneurial journey as a life coach focused on working with Quarter Life folks (24-35yrs old). It makes me think about something called the corridor theory that was shared with me. It goes like this: If you look down a corridor you can only see so far. Once you decide to step you can see more and doors will begin to open for you that would not have opened for anyone else. It all begins with a step even though you can't see everything that is in front of you.

Keep doing what you do.

M. Bruny

Posted by: Mike Bruny [TypeKey Profile Page] at January 17, 2009 01:46 AM

Love the shirt -- it's something I'm going to give every one of my clients or employees in the future.

The best gift we can give each other is permission to take risks. In fact, more than that, we should encourage and push each other to take risks that WILL lead to so-called failure. This just sparked an incredible idea for how I'll approach new projects and clients! Thanks!

Posted by: Kelli Schmith [TypeKey Profile Page] at January 20, 2009 08:35 AM

Love this post, Mitch. My life's experience:
It's the fallen fruit that becomes the new forest, and it's where the river disappears that the ocean begins.
If you so choose: failure is Life's way of re-directing us to new possibilities. A transformation from what we know to what we are yet to find out. At times hard to swallow but very nourishing to our future growth and manifestations.

Yoram Weis

Posted by: Yoram Weis [TypeKey Profile Page] at April 5, 2010 10:51 PM

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