The True Definition of Failure

Virtually all people fear failure. A bitter irony is that for some, the fear of failure is so crippling that they fail to even try. If you lack the courage to even attempt something for fear you might fail, you’ve already failed.


Others try, but after experiencing one or two failures, they do not try again. These people have also fallen into the trap that failure lays for so many. The fearsome predator we know as failure only wins when we stop trying – or never try in the first place.


We’ve all heard the worn-out old phrase, “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.” Mary Pickford, a famous actress of the early 20th century, eloquently expressed that same concept, saying, “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.”


Pickford hit the nail on the head. Failure only really exists when we fail to try again! Failure, setbacks, hardships, defeat, losses, delays, disappointments, mistakes – they are inevitable. Failure stalks and ambushes even the most stoic perfectionist. But failure doesn’t have to win; failure only ‘wins’ if you let it.


Don’t fear failure. Fight failure. Meet it head-on and declare, “I can and will overcome!” All it takes is getting back up and trying again after failure has knocked you down. It’s not the falling down (or being knocked down) that matters, it’s what you do afterwards. Don’t let the fear of failure keep you from the greater success you can achieve! As Winston Churchill once said, “Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.”


Hang in there. Keep picking yourself up and trying again. Don’t forget, “this thing that we call ‘failure’ is not the falling down, but the staying down.”


Get up! Risk temporary “failure.” Swing again. You were not created nor destined to be a failure!


Do you sometimes “fall down” and stay down, or do you always get right back up? Share a story about the consequences – positive or negative – of a time when you chose to either stay down or to get up.

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I am a leader, speaker, and author who is passionate about Leadership Excellence and Achieiving Greater Success. I am the author of the books Be An Inspirational Leader(2016) and Presidential Leadership (2013), and deliver keynote presentations on those topics and several others.

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