The Natural Success Cycle Always Begins With Failure

Our parents didn’t tell us this. Our teachers didn’t tell us this. Our older siblings didn’t tell us this. We didn’t even hear it from our first employers. What is this? That in anything we do we must start out by failing. Anthony Robbins expains the success cycle this way, “Success is the result of good judgment, good judgment is a result of experience, experience is often the result of bad judgment.” There is no truer formula for life. Heck, they should make this the first thing we learn in grammar school. If you think about it, it is the first thing we learn in life. We didn’t just start talking after we were born. We came into the world crying. Then we graduated to a bunch of unintelligent murmurs and garbles until we said our first word. It was at that moment in life we also received a greatest encouragement from our parents. “Look at little Johnny, he said his first word. Come here daddy and listen. Ok Johnny say it again. Oh here it comes, Ma ma! Isn’t that great” Even though dad wanted to hear his name first, he joins in on the accolades, “Great job Johnny!” Every one claps. The parents brag to everyone they know that their son has just learned his first word. If you think about it, we had to fail about several thousand times before we uttered an intelligent sound. It was that same way when we learned to walk. We fell a whole bunch of times. But our parents egged us on by holding our hands up in the air and dragging us across several hundred miles of rug space until we could walk our first step ourselves. Unsure of what our parents saw, they put us up on our feet and encouraged the heck out of us telling us, ‘”Come on Johnny – you can do it!” Finally that day came when we hobbled along like a drunken sailor and our parents yelled out “He did it. Johnny is walking!” They showed us off to everybody they knew, and we were expected to do our newly learned trick of walking. In everything we do in life, a certain amount of failure should be expected before we get it right. I remember my experience at learning how to ride a bike. I even remember how old I was when I did. I was seven years old. This was a big adventure for me because little did I know it at the time but my bicycle would take me around a few thousand miles of exploration throughout my next seven years of life. My older brother helped me out with realizing my first bruises. I had training wheels fixed to my bike which my dad put on, and my brother held me up with one arm on the bike handles in front and one arm on the seat where I was seated which at the time seemed really high off the ground. My father stood at the bottom of the hill like a catcher for the New York Yankees waiting for the pitch to come in. Then that moment my brother yearned for with so much enthusiasm came, he hurled me into space with glee and as destiny would have it I fell for the first time scraping my knees and my hands and I laid there on the ground crying. My brother laughed but I remember my father’s encouraging words, “Come on Johnny, you can do it!” So I tried again and again. Luckily I did not have to fail as much as my earlier experiences in life. I think I only fell a dozen times or so before that bicycle took me for my first breath-taking ride down that long hill and I steered it into my first successful stop myself after steering it and learning to keep my balance as I tacked in and out of the wind left and right, left and right. As we get older, our challenges become bigger as we learn new things, and failure is always to be expected. Why is that we are so hard on ourselves when we fail? Failure is a part of life. It must come as the sun must rise each day. Unfortunately, as we get older, life becomes crueler as we meet more unsavory and troubled people. These characters put us down and that is why a positive reinforcement system at home is so vital. But when that home environment becomes dysfunctional as it does with so many families, the encouragement we need is lost. In fact, in many cases our own dysfunctional family contributes to our negative experiences as they become our critics and antagonists instead of constructively encouraging us like we need. When we are constantly told we can’t make it, and we are stupid, and the hugs and affection disappears more and more regularly, our world becomes full of negative reinforcement. But cheer up because we now know what to expect. Failure will come with everything we do. What should we do when we encounter failure? My wife gave me a great illustration. “It’s like surfing”, she said. “When the big waves come and they are larger than we expect, we can’t expect ourselves to keep standing. We must squat down or even kneel on the surf board as we encounter the wave. But once it passes we can stand up again, regain our balance and wait for the next wave.” When we learned how to speak, learned how to walk, learned how to ride a bike, or learned how to swim it was always the same thing. We ducked when the punches came but we got right back up again didn’t we? Toni Robbins said experience comes from poor judgment (or making mistakes). That is a natural part of the success cycle. Today as you take on the world, remember the natural success cycle. It always begins with failure; but with experience will come success.