Failure Is the Tuition You Pay for Success

Commitment to taking personal responsibility for your success is one of the keys to career and life success that is part of my Common Sense Success System.  I discuss it in detail in several of my books: Straight Talk for Success, Your Success GPS, and 42 Rules to Jumpstart Your Professional Success. 

If you want to succeed, you must commit to three things.  First, you must take personal responsibility for your success.  Only you can make you a success.  You need to be willing to do the things necessary to succeed.  Second, you must set high goals — and then do whatever it takes to achieve them.   Third, stuff happens; as you go through life you will encounter many problems and setbacks.  You need to react positively to the negative stuff and move forward toward your goals.

I am traveling quite a bit as we get to the end of the year.  When I travel, I try to take care of myself by ordering dinner in.  Most often, I order hot and sour soup from a local Chinese restaurant.  I always read my fortunes because I often find wisdom in them.  Sure enough, the other day, I got this fortune…

“Failure is the tuition you pay for success.”

I like that metaphor – failure as tuition for success.

People who commit to taking personal responsibility for their success, choose to react positively to the problems, setbacks and failures they encounter along the way.  Thinking of problems, setbacks and failures as the tuition you need to pay to learn the lessons necessary for creating the successful life and career you want and deserve is a great idea.  It also makes it easier for you to choose to react positively.

Failure is never pleasant.  However it is a fact of life.  Most successful people will tell you that they were failures before they were successes.  They succeeded because they chose to react positively to their failures – and this is really important – to learn from them.

The next time things don’t work out as you would like, look for the reason why you failed, and the lesson behind it.  There is a lesson to be learned in every failure.  Successful people find the learning in their failures and then apply it in their lives and careers.  They change their behavior.  They do things differently.

I always tell my coaching clients that if you do something right the first time and then do it another 1,000 times, the value of that experience is negligible.  You might get a little better or faster at it, but you’re not likely to make a quantum leap forward.  On the other hand, when you do something and things go really bad, you can take this negative experience and use it to your advantage – but only if you’re paying attention and you’re willing to learn from your mistakes; or treat them as the tuition you need to pay to succeed.

The common sense point here is simple.  Successful people commit to taking personal responsibility for their lives, careers and success.  Treating your setbacks and failures as the tuition you need to pay to succeed, is a great way to demonstrate your commit to taking personal responsibility.  When you fail, choose to react positively and learn something.  Then use what you’ve learned to create the successful life and career you want and deserve.

That’s my take on treating failure as the tuition you pay for success.  What’s yours?  Please take a few minutes to leave a comment sharing your thoughts with us.  As always, thanks for reading.


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