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Have You Failed? You’re in Good Company.

I know, you probably think that sounds nice, but is really just an empty encouragement at the end of the day. So, I want to share some fun facts with you to prove you just how much success can come from failure.


  • Did you know that Thomas Edison created 3,000 different ideas for lighting systems before he tested them to see if they would actually work? He KNEW going in that most of them would fail.


  • What about the glorious Post-It Note – did you know that was the result of a “failure?” Spencer Silver developed a new adhesive for 3M that stuck to objects but could easily be lifted off. It was first marketed as a bulletin board adhesive so the boards could be moved easily from place to place. There was no market for it. But Silver didn’t discard it. One day Arthur Fry, another 3M employee, was singing in the church’s choir when his page marker fell out of his hymnal. Fry coated his page markers with Silver’s adhesive and discovered the markers stayed in place, yet lifted off without damaging the page. And in a moment of brilliance, the Post-it Notes were born and a failure became a booming success.


  • Sometimes the greatest successes are at first rejected. Albert Einstein was expelled from school because his attitude had a negative effect on serious students. He also failed his university entrance exam the first time around and had to attend a trade school for one year before finally being admitted. AND he was the only one in his graduating class who did not get a teaching position because no professor would recommend him. And yet, today we call him a genius.


  • Walt Disney was fired from his first job on a newspaper because “he lacked imagination.” Yes, Mr. Disney himself.


  • And did you know that Thomas Edison had only two years of formal schooling? He was also totally deaf in one ear and was hard of hearing in the other. He was fired from two jobs – his first as a newsboy and later from his job as a telegrapher?. And yet, after all that failure he went on to become perhaps the most famous inventor in United States history.


The point? Failure is relative. Failure is not final unless you allow it to be. And failure that leads you to the next right step or inspires you to some other greatness is no longer failure, it’s a stepping stone, a stop along the way, a catalyst for greatness.



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