Success is born through sacrifice, failure, risk, and pain. The pain of bad experiences. The pain of change.
It is important to note that failure and pain alone do nothing to move you closer to success. It is how you respond to and learn from them that counts.
John Maxwell notes, “Facing difficulties is inevitable. Learning from them is optional. Whether you learn is based on if you understand that difficulties present opportunities to learn and treat them accordingly.”
The problem is that we intentionally try to avoid all of this stuff like the plague. And when we do experience a difficulty or failure, our goal is normally to get out of the other side as fast as possible.
I’m reminded of the story of Thomas Edison who made 1,000 attempts before successfully inventing the lightbulb. He said, “I didn’t fail 1,000 times. The light bulb was an invention with 1,000 steps.” Failure became his teacher when he viewed it as the next step bringing him closer to success. He treated each failed experiment as an opportunity to learn what not to do in his next attempt. Failing 1,000 times didn’t create the lightbulb, evaluating and learning from each of those unsuccessful experiments did.
Athlete and author Diana Nyad asserts, “I am willing to put myself through anything; temporary pain or discomfort means nothing to me as long as I can see that the experience will take me to a new level. I am interested in the unknown, and the only path to the unknown is through breaking barriers, an often-painful process.”
By the way, Nyad swam nonstop from the Bahamas to Florida. It was a two day journey setting a world record that has stood since 1979. Her road to accomplishing this extraordinary feat was peppered with failures and setbacks.
In the future when you find yourself in the midst of a bad experience or facing failure, be reminded that you have an opportunity to change, grow, and move closer to success.