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From Thomas Edison to JK Rowling to Michael Jordan: Why failing fantastically is the pathway to true success


Everybody fails. Everybody! Even the great success stories from JK Rowling to Michael Jordan. Thomas Edison to Colonel Sanders, they all failed at various times on their journeys to success.

And, it’s not just that they failed, anyone can fail, heck, some of us make it our life’s work, but moreover, it’s how they managed failure to become the household names they are today.

It’s not enough just to fail. You must fail fantastically

You see, failure to a certain degree is inevitable, it’s part of the journey, like it or not. And, the most successful people in the world know this. It’s the one thing they all have in common. They stopped fearing failure and began embracing it. This is what failing fantastically is all about.

One of the toughest choices we’ll all have to make at some point in our lives, is whether to fail miserably or fail fantastically. The great success stories have all failed fantastically. They chose to play on. They took on failure with a positive mindset, learned the lessons they needed and grew to become better equipped, stronger more resilient human beings.

You see, most people look at failure as the end. Crash and burn type of stuff. But failure is not the end; it’s the beginning and most of the middle. Success, whatever that means to you, always comes at the end. When you learn to fail fantastically, you learn the true value of failure.

Stay in the game

There are many great benefits to failing fantastically. But of course, it’s not easy. You can’t go out and buy it or find it in a pack of cereal. It’s something you must work at. For many, failure is embarrassing and painful. The sort of thing you might say, “I tried it once, didn’t really like it.”

But, if you’re able to keep a positive mindset, including a smile, despite failure, you might just stay in the game long enough to come out the other end a winner.

Builds character and the skills for success

There’s no better teacher than failure. It builds resilience, a strength of character and leads to persistence – powerful life tools for any industry and any people in any walk of life.

It often separates the weak from the strong or the committed from the pretenders because everybody fails but not everyone goes on. Success, true success, requires the skills we can only attain through having a go, failing, getting back up and having another go, and another and another.

Success takes inner strength, persistence and resilience. But to make this happen, it comes down to attitude, a sense of purpose, and if possible, a sense of humour.

That last part is crucial. Like so much in life, a sense of humour is vital. It’s not about telling jokes or being the life of the party. It’s a willingness to laugh at yourself and the absurdity of situations you might find yourself in. It’s about seeing the lighter side of life.

Not holding success so tight that you’re strangling it. So many people put so much pressure on themselves to succeed that they can’t enjoy the here and now. We all need to celebrate the little victories along the way, laugh at some of our better failures, and understand that failure is always going to be there.

But it’s our mindset that will determine to what degree it affects us being successful. Remember, failure is crucial to success, so embrace it, don’t run from it.

Fail fantastically all the way to success

The longer you’re in the game the greater your chances are of winning. It’s the same in all things we do. The more we push on through life and adversity the harder it is to fail. What many people fail to understand, or take stock of, is that failure is a fickle beast.

If you’re out there doing enough of the things the right way, or even the wrong way, for long enough, failure, by its very nature can’t cope, and varying levels of success will emanate. So, I’d like to finish by wishing you all a lifetime of heart-breaking failure. I really do. Now, get out there and fail.

Ken Williams is a serial failure-ist and author of the humorous guide book, How to Fail Fantastically (It hasn’t sold a single copy, it’s a runaway success!).  For more information about failure, Ken has a website: www.kenwilliamswriting.com.au He designed the site himself. Epic Fail.

Ken Williams