In Others’ Words: From Failure to Failure
People like to talk about success — they like to bandy about different definitions for it. Success is this. Success is that.
And they’re all usually talking about something as far from failure as you can get.
I’ve been reading Alton Gansky’s book Imagination @ Work. (Alton’s a friend and a colleague. I admire him. Even if I didn’t know him, I’d recommend his book. It’s like a series of “here’s what I’ve been thinking about” conversations with a witty, intelligent guy.)
But back to the topic at hand: failure.
Alton poses the question: What would you do, if you knew you could not fail? (That is a topic for another blog.)
I answered his question by writing this question in my journal: How do you define failure?
And then I wrote:
success – less than
And by that I mean that what appears to be success in one person’s eyes can feel like a failure in someone else’s.
Say, for example, I land a book contract.
But I don’t earn out my advance.
Or I don’t win an award.
Or I don’t get offered a second contract.
Or I don’t ______________ (fill in the blank).
It’s the whole “being nibbled to death by ducks” experience. Turning success into failure because it wasn’t good enough.
But Beth, you say, Winston Churchill was talking about success — and defining it as facing failure enthusiastically.
I know. And I love his definition.
But Churchill got me thinking. And so did Alton. We need to enthusiastically face both our failures and our successes and not let the little duckies (dare I name them comparison and envy and disappointment?) nibble them all to pieces.
In Your Words: How do you define failure or success? And how do you face them with enthusiasm?
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