He answered, “All of them!”
Sky diving, however, is the exception. Is your life built on a series of successes? Do you usually attempt something new and immediately succeed, then succeed again and again?
More likely, you may find that it is the other way around. Your successes are often built on smaller failures. You fell off the bike a few times before you learned to ride. And you produced a few culinary failures before you baked a successful layered cake or prepared a satisfactory omelet.
Tom Hopkins observed, “The number of times I succeed is in direct proportion to the number of times I can fail and keep on trying.” And Winston Churchill stated, “Success is going from failure to failure without a loss of enthusiasm.” They both agreed that discouragement rather than failure, is the enemy of success. Those who can remain hopeful and focused, though they fail, are those who will eventually succeed.
In all, Emily Dickinson is said to have written more than nine hundred poems. Though only four were published in her lifetime and the first volume of her poetry was not published until four years after her death, Dickinson’s success is attributed to the fact that she did not allow discouragement to keep her from her poetry.
Where would we be today had Emily Dickinson lost her enthusiasm for writing? Because she kept her desire alive, we now remember her as one of the great poets of all time.
It’s good to remember that success may be just beyond the next failure, and you’ll get there, not because you’re destined to, but because you’re determined to.
Reprinted from Grace Drops, Volume 5 (2007).