Choose to Chase Failure

J.K. Rowling's first manuscript of Harry Potter was rejected dozens of times before it was finally taken on by a small publisher, Bloomsbury, whose CEO gave it a second chance after his daughter read and loved it.

Henry Ford failed at five businesses before he founded the Ford Motor Company.

Walt Disney was fired by a newspaper editor who said he "lacked imagination and had no good ideas." He then went on to start and fail at many businesses before developing the famous Disney franchise we know today.

Albert Einstein was thought to be mentally handicapped and was even suspended from school long before he ever won the Nobel Prize for his work in physics.

Harrison Ford, once told by a movie executive that he "didn't have what it takes to be a star," is now one of the biggest names in Hollywood.

Stephen King hung failed manuscripts on a nail on the wall until the weight of the paper was too heavy for the nail to support. He received 60 rejections before selling his first short story and his best-selling book Carrie was rejected dozens of times before it finally got published.

Michael Jordan was cut from his high school basketball team, but he is now considered one of the biggest basketball stars of all time.

I have missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I have lost almost 300 games. On 26 occasions I have been entrusted to take the game winning shot, and I missed. I have failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.
— Michael Jordan

Perhaps my favorite comeback story, though, is Thomas Edison. His teacher considered him "too stupid to learn anything," and he was fired from his first two jobs for lack of productivity. Today we know him as the man who invented the light bulb.

What most don't know is that Edison made over one thousand unsuccessful models before he met success. Thomas Edison failed one thousand times, but we don't see him as a failure. Those one thousand failures led to one success that made it all worth it.

We live in a culture that is afraid of failure. I see why. With social media as big as it is, your failure can often be public in a very large way. But think about this:

The people listed above are all very well known successes. But they failed. At one point or other, in fact, often at many points, they failed. But failure isn't the only thing these figures have in common.

They never quit. I'm sure after the 744th time Thomas Edison created a dud light bulb, he wanted to quit. But he didn't, and now it is his name we attribute this ground breaking invention to. 

Without failure, you are almost certain to never succeed.

And the scary part, if you are chasing success, you are almost certain to fail. 

But failure isn't fatal. Failure is necessary. Failure tells you what you are doing isn't quite working. But you don't have to take that as a sign to quit. You can take that as a sign to make some changes and try again.

See, our fear of failure often overcomes our potential to succeed. What would happen if we decided to stop fearing failure? What if we even chased failure, because we knew it led to success?

I'm not the first person to ask this. Ryan Leak is a motivational speaker who asks this very question. What if we chased failure? 

What about you? Will you let failure stop you? Or will you let it teach you and choose to keep on pursuing your dream?