Trials are the secret to success

Last weekend a friend was talking about Ken Robinson’s TED talk where he says children don’t fear failing. The next day we went ice skating where the rink was filled with children skating for the first time. We kept trying to skate, deliberately slowly to avoid falling, and ended up not really learning to skate even after 30 minutes. I felt proud about not falling even once, but I noticed the kids just went about moving, falling, getting up and learning more than us in the 30 minutes. They just don’t seem afraid of falling.

Success tshirt

Failure. This word frequently paralyzes me and then I don’t do what I need to. People keep talking about failure as being a prerequisite to success. I wonder if they really mean failure? I would think ‘trial’ is the more appropriate word.Trial is the secret to success. And if you try, some or most of the time you will fail.

I have not failed. I’ve just found 10000 ways that won’t work. – Thomas Edison

How do you define success? How do you know you are successful?

I just watched ‘Comedian’ a documentary that follows Seinfeld, a successful comedian who seems oblivious to his own success, and Orny Adams, a struggling comedian attempting to get to where Seinfeld is for over 20 years now. It was interesting to see both men take it equally hard when they didn’t have a good show. Interestingly Seinfeld kept looking for his own approval, never happy with what he had done despite everybody around him looking at him like a genius, while Orny Adams, seemed confident that he was really good and would blame the audience when they didn’t respond to his comedy all the while seeking their approval desperately. In one of the scenes Jay Leno tells Seinfeld that he saves most of his Tonight Show money because he is afraid of losing it all and becoming unemployed.

Success seems to depend on who’s approval you are seeking. It could be audience, customers, investors, friends, family or yourself. When you stop seeking approval, then being successful can come so easy followed by happiness and peace. Easy to write about but so hard to do.

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"I rarely end up where I was intending to go, but often I end up somewhere that I needed to be." - Douglas Adams

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