Having The Courage To Face Your Failures Will Make You Unstoppable
We human beings are curious creatures. We’re quick to accept credit for our victories. When we win, we want the world to know about it. It’s natural to want others to look at you and say, “There goes the fellow who did such and such.”
But human beings are equally quick to blame someone else for each setback. It’s natural for salesmen to blame customers when sales are lost. It’s natural for executives to blame employees or other executives when things get out of gear. It’s natural for husbands to blame wives and wives to blame husbands for quarrels and family problems.
It is true that in this complex world others may trip us. But it is also true that more often than not we trip ourselves. We lose because of personal inadequacy, some personal mistake.
Condition yourself for success this way. Remind yourself that you want to be as nearly perfect as is humanly possible. Be objective. Put yourself in a glass tube and look at yourself as a disinterested third party would look at the situation. See if you have a weakness that you’ve never noticed before. If you have, take action to correct it. Many people become so accustomed to themselves that they fail to see ways for improvement.
The great Metropolitan Opera star Rise Stevens said in Reader’s Digest (July 1955) that at the unhappiest moment of her life she received the best advice she’s ever had.
Early in her career, Miss Stevens lost the Metropolitan Opera “Auditions of the Air.” After losing, Miss Stevens was bitter. “I longed to hear,” she said, “that my voice was really better than the other girl’s, that the verdict was grossly unfair, that I had just lacked the right connections to win.”
But Miss Steven’s teacher didn’t coddle her. Instead, she said to Miss Stevens, “My dear, have the courage to face your faults.”
“Much as I wanted to fall back on self-pity,” continued Miss Stevens, “they (those words) kept coming back to me. That night they woke me. I couldn’t sleep until I faced my shortcomings. Lying there in the dark, I asked myself, ‘Why did I fail?’ ‘How can I win next time?’ and I admitted to myself that my vocal range was not as good as it had to be, that I had to perfect my languages, that I must learn roles.”
Miss Stevens went on to say how facing her faults not only helped her to succeed on stage but also helped her win more friends and develop a more pleasing personality.
Being self-critical is constructive. It helps you to build the personal strength and efficiency needed for success. Blaming others is destructive. You gain absolutely nothing from “proving” that someone else is wrong.
Be constructive self-critical. Don’t run away from inadequacies. Be like the real professionals. They seek out their faults and weaknesses, then correct them. That’s what makes them professionals.
Don’t, of course, try to find your faults so you can say to yourself, “Here’s another reason I’m a loser.”
Instead, view your mistakes as “Here’s another way to make me a bigger winner.”
The great Orville Hubbard once said, “A failure is a man who has blundered but is not able to cash in on the experience.”
Often, we blame luck for our setbacks. We say, “Well, that’s the way the ball bounces,” and let it go at that. But stop and think. Balls don’t bounce in certain ways for uncertain reasons. The bounce of a ball is determined by three things: the ball, the way it is thrown, and the surface it strikes. Definite physical laws explain the bounce of a ball, not luck.
Suppose the CAA was to issue a report saying, “We’re sorry the crash occurred, but folks, that’s just the way the ball bounces.”
You’d say it’s time to get a new CAA. Or suppose a doctor explained to a relative, “I’m awfully sorry. I don’t know what happened. It’s just one of those things.”
You’d switch doctors when you or another relative became ill.
The that’s-the-way-the-ball-bounces approach teaches us nothing. We’re not better prepared to avoid a duplication of the mistake the next time we face a similar situation.
The football coach takes Saturday’s loss with “Well, boys, that’s the way the ball bounces” isn’t helping his team avoid the same mistakes the next Saturday.
Orville Hubbard, mayor of Dearborn, Michigan, for seventeen consecutive years, is one of the nation’s most colorful and respected urban administrators.
For ten years prior to becoming mayor of Dearborn, Mr. Hubbard could have used the “bad luck” excuse and stepped out of politics.
Before becoming a perennial winner, Orville Hubbard was “unlucky” three times in trying to get the nomination for mayor.
Three times he tried to get the nomination for state senator but failed. Once he was beaten in a race for a congressional nomination.
But Orville Hubbard studied those setbacks. He regarded them as part of his political education. And today he is one of the sharpest, most unbeatable politicians in local government.
Instead of gambling luck, research those setbacks, if you lose, learn. Lots of folks go through life explaining their mediocrity with “hard luck,” “tough luck,” “sour luck,” “bad luck.”
These people are still like children, immature, searching for sympathy. Without realizing it, they fail to see opportunities to grow bigger, stronger, more self-reliant.
Stop blaming luck. Blaming luck never got anyone where he wanted to go.