Most people don’t reach their dreams, not because of failure, but because they give up. Those who succeed, don’t stop at one failure. They don’t stop at 10 failures. They don’t stop at one hundred, one thousand, or a million. They say “this is my goal, and I am going to do whatever I can to achieve it”. Failure makes winners stronger, and hungrier. But it makes most give up. Winners don’t enjoy failure, but they don’t let it stop them. Failure is not the end of the story, it is the start of the comeback story.
Failing can be unpleasant. Failing can be embarrassing. Failing can be one of the greatest ways to learn from our mistakes. We experience defeat daily. Every person in this room has failed at some point in their life. You’ve failed … I've failed too. Some people give up after failing on the first try. Some people fear failure so much, they never even try. And some fail over and over and over again until they get it right. I’m sure you failed the first time you tried to ride a bike. I did. Some of us may have even fallen off. Did you become scared of the pain or the embarrassment? Or did you keep on trying until you got it right?
It took me years to learn to ride because I was scared of falling or never being able to. It was only when my dad told me: if you don’t try, you can't succeed, that I got back on that bike and didn’t give up until I eventually learned. Failure can be discouraging, but it can also benefit you in the future. It means you have a story to tell, you learn from it, and you develop mental strength.
Eminem, one of the most successful rappers of the 21st century. The first time he went on stage, he got stage fright and he couldn't speak. He was mocked, jeered and booed off the stage. He never gave up, despite the fear and embarrassment. His father abandoned him, he was abused by his mother and grew up in a trailer park, but his passion for music was so strong that he channelled all his emotions into it, and became not only the highest selling rapper but also the best selling musician of this century.
Despite the defeat he experienced throughout his life, he did not give up. He learned from his mistakes and his failure and used it as his motivation. In one of his songs, he says “Success is my only … option, failure’s not.” He tells his story through his music and encourages his audience not to give up trying when something doesn’t go right the first time.
Another great example: J.K. Rowling. Most people think of Harry Potter when they think of J.K. Rowling, but they don’t think about how she got to where she is now. Whilst she was writing the first Harry Potter book, she struggled financially as a single mother and battled depression. During this time, she said that she was “the biggest failure [she] knew”. Her completed manuscript of the first Harry Potter book was turned down by a number of publishers before she got a book deal. Her series of seven books has since sold more than 450 million copies, won countless awards, been made into movies, and it has transformed her life.
Many of us regard failure as a bad thing, but if you want to succeed in life, you have to be prepared to fail a few times until you reach the end goal. Almost every successful person you meet will say that their failures are what led them to success.