Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Grow from Success. Learn from Failure

I think it is a result of modern education and its focus on top grades and standardized test scores, but people are afraid to fail. I can speak on this subject with great authority because I was a perfectionist. I took more than the required number of honors courses to graduate from the Honors college of my university, I had a cumulative GPA of 3.903 and scored above the 95th percentile on my ACT [99th percentile in the English section].

America is not alone in this focus on excellence. The German and French Education systems are also standardized test focused with a series of tests determining your entire future.

Failure at just one can, and does, impact your entire life.

However, in my studies of society’s most successful people I have found a few common characteristics: revolutionary thinking, a circle of wise advisors, and FAILURE.

Failure is an absolute prerequisite to significant success in business or life. It is from these failings that we learn what doesn’t work. Edison is quoted as having said “I didn’t fail 100 times [in inventing the light bulb]. I found 100 ways not to do it.”

In fact, the most meaningful quote TO ME by Edison is on the wall of my office, “Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.”

As writers we much face rejection [failure] constantly. Even those who have broken in to publishing will routinely be rejected for future projects, be rejected by readers, or even be rejected by fellow authors. It is important to see the benefits that can be captured through failure. They offer the opportunity to refocus and improve.

Success is the water station along the marathon of life. We can take a sip to quench our thirst and we can splash some on our face to cool off, but then we need to get back to running. We need to keep conditioning. We need to build and grow.

So, if you’ve recently experienced success: GREAT! I’m seeing dramatic success in my blog and article traffic. I’m also seeing a surge in clients. There are many people recognizing this economy for what it is: a time to CONDITION in anticipation for the next up-swing.

However, if you’re facing constant rejection, don’t lose heart. Keep pushing on. Look at what is being rejected and why. Take the time to focus on improving those areas. That is what will distinguish you from those who drop out of the race.
Tiffany Colter is a writer, speaker and writing career coach who works with beginner to published writers. She can be reached through her website at

Tiffany is a speaker and teacher. Find out about available topics for your group’s next event.Tiffany is a National Examiner. Read her articles here.

Learn more about Tiffany’s Marketing techniques on her main blog.

Common-sense money management is free at The Balanced Life website.

Read Tiffany’s award winning manuscript “A Face in the Shadow” on her fiction blog.

She writes a blog for the Christian writer Tuesdays at Writer’s Rest.


Warren Baldwin said...

Very good article. Failure really is the "compost heap" for future success. I like your positive approach to a challenge that diminishes the hope of many of us - failure. Good post.

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