How Great Leaders Don’t Accept Failure

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By Jas Singh

Today’s my second day at Tony Robbin’s annual seminar “Unleash The Power Within“. As I mentioned yesterday, it’s been an incredible experience so far, a fascinating journey of self-discovery and development.

This morning has been focussed on one core aspect – Failure. What it is, why we avoid it all costs and how it prevents 99.9% people achieving what they want in life.

As Tony explains, the world failure is simply a perspective. It can only truly be classified as a failure if you decide to give up. If you think you have failed, you have. And if you think that you haven’t, you haven’t.

Great leaders in all walks of life continuously have to make tough decisions. And usually these tough decisions result in turbulent journeys, with many disappointments. Most of us, will usually give up at the first sign of failure. A few of us may carry on for a while. Yet the highest achievers never accept defeat, to them the word failure is removed from the dictionary – they keep going until they reach their goal. They can lose temporarily, yes. Even be in the depths of despondency. But as long as they keep going, they can never fail.

Here are some ways great leaders learn to not accept failure.

1) They focus on what they have learned

Nothing can be interpreted as a failure if it gets you closer to your goals. Thomas Edison famously invented 10,000 versions of the light bulb before finally coming up with the idea that worked. For most people, the constant disappointment would be interpreted as failure. However Edison was different. He simply saw each non-working proto-type as an opportunity to learn what didn’t work and thus what he needed to change. In other words, he knew what not to try next time around.

Great leaders replace the word failure with learning. They change their perspective. As long as they can find something to learn from a situation, it’s been a success. Even if the temporary result is undesirable.

Failure is just a matter of perspective.

2) They build bigger and better goals

In now a famous story, Donald Trump famously went bankrupt when seemingly at the height of his real estate development powers. At the time, Trump went through much bad press and financial loss – losing pretty much everything he had and his reputation almost in tatters.

Yet as everyone knows, within five years he had not only managed to re-rejuvenate his business but actually managed to become even richer than he was before. After his bankruptcy, he decided to invest in even bigger projects and borrow even moremoney from investors.

Great leaders react to “failure” with even more determination. The bigger the defeat, the more they raise their ambitions and goals.

For great leaders, every defeat has the seed of an even bigger success.

3) They cut all escape routes

Most people succeed when they truly have to. When they have no other alternative. If faced with normal everyday choices, it’s our nature to lie down at the first signs of defeat – because it’s the easy thing to do.

There is a famous story of an army general who once had to battle another army that was twice the size if his own. Many of his army didn’t believe they could win and would have decided to flee easily. However after landing on the enemy coast by boat, he then instructed his men to set fire to their own boats. “Gentleman” he said “see there our boats go up in flames. We now cannot escape. Either we win or we die”. Guess what – they won.

Great leaders understand that failure only can happen if you give up. And the more commitment you make to following through, the more successful you will be.

No back-up plans, see how it goes or half hearted attempts.

Great leaders cut all escape routes.

4) They only associate with believers

When things don’t work out as expected, there are always others who are only too keen to criticise. The “I told you so’s.” The ones who are glad to see you coming back “down” to their level.

And to make matters worse, our loved ones are only sometimes too keen to see us stop. Understandably – they don’t want us to experience the inevitable pain that comes with defeat. So they often try to talk us out of it.

However it’s always at this juncture when leaders are born. Every great achiever has at some point experienced temporary defeat and been outcast by the majority of people.

Great leaders understand that the right acquaintances are essential to prevent failure. They associate with those with the belief, energy and inspiration to keep them going.

Conclusion

There is a big difference between temporary defeat and failure.

Failure can only exist if you believe it does.

Hiring managers can gain a massive advantage over the competition by hiring those people who don’t accept failure easily and who keep going until they achieve success.

Have you ever accepted failure?

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