Friday, April 8, 2011

Failure, the Greatest Teacher

I just watched a fabulous interview of Tavis Smiley with Larry King (link here). Tavis has written a new book that sounds fascinating -- Fail Up: 20 Lessons on Building Success from Failure. It details 20 failures in his life, and how those failures made him a better man.

I've always believed that failure is a better teacher than success. We learn so much about ourselves, the world, other people through our failures. Failures can humble us and bring us to our knees, sometimes. But it's only on our knees (through humility) that we're open to learning the greatest lessons about ourselves, I think. When we're arrogant, on top of the world, that's when we're the least open to learning.

Back to Tavis -- he gave a great quote from Babe Ruth (this is Tavis's paraphrase): "Every strike gets me closer to the next home run."

What a wonderful quote for writers! Every rejection, every "no," gets me that much closer to the "yes." I think the failures - the "no's" - are MUCH easier to handle when we realize that they move us one step closer to success.


  1. 100% agree. I am particularly thankful to the first rejection letter I ever got. It made me want this dream more than ever. :)

  2. Yes - great way to look at it. After rejections deflate me, I usually feel a stubbornness that rises up. Rejection makes me want to try even harder, prove them wrong...