17 October 2017
Have you ever failed? If the answer is ‘no’, why is that? Are you perfect at everything or have you never taken a risk?
Whilst J.K. Rowling may be best known for being an incredibly successful author, she’s also a prime example of a successful failure. Someone who failed and failed, but never gave up. This resilience and tenacity led to the publication of the best-selling book series in history, selling more than 500,000,000 copies across 200 territories, in 80 different languages. And if you’re counting success by the amount of money made, Rowling is the world’s richest author, now worth an estimated $650 million (£491 million). She has also donated more than $150 million (£133m) to charity in recent years.
Quite extraordinary for someone who saw themselves as a failure; an unemployed, divorced, single mother in the 1990s. Instead of wallowing in this, Rowling saw it as an opportunity to finally focus on her writing. The rest is history and it’s astonishing.
“It is impossible to live without failing at something. Unless you live so cautiously, you might as well not have lived at all. In which case, you fail by default” J.K. Rowling
So what makes a failure successful? It seems that the people who learn something valuable, whether that’s a tangible lesson or building resilience, there’s value in every failure. We just have to see that value.
I think we all fall foul of ‘what if’ from time to time; the fear that if you try something new or go out on a limb it could all go wrong. It could go wrong, yes, but I would bet a million pounds that you will learn something incredibly valuable along the way.
Have you noticed the trend of successful people who failed at school? I honestly think that struggling academically made me work even harder to be successful. Being told in a school swimming lesson that the only place I would swim to would be the bottom of the pool was a huge motivator. Being told by my uncle that I would never be a businessman was just as big a driver.
Failure is one of the reasons why sport is such an essential part of any business person’s life – of anyone’s life, really. It builds that resilience you need to bounce back from a failure, to find the lesson in it and to carry on.
I’d love to hear how you’ve successfully failed, comment below.