The title of this post is a bit misleading. I do mind failing. In fact, I despise it. Of the many activities I could be doing on a given day, failing is the least desirable option.
But sometimes it happens.
And when it does, it feels like this: like the dark winter clouds have gathered above and they can’t resist pelting depression-filled doom drops down at you. It feels like that dispicable feeling of loving someone who no longer loves you back. Like that feeling you get when you realize you’ve made a major mistake and this is real life and you’ve spent a lot of money and you will never see it again. Ever. Again. It’s that parasitic pit in your stomach and mind that just won’t go away.
It’s feeling like Beck and knowing it’s a truth and not just a negative thought.
For instance, I’m Too Fancy Version 1.0 was a major failure. Majah. For those who don’t know, my attempts to start a budget shopping search engine and affiliate-powered online shop went nowhere. My vision was grander than my capabilities. I also wasn’t known for my impeccable fashion sense so no one really cared what I had to say about budget shopping. I almost didn’t even care what I had to say about budget shopping.
Then I got sick and everything went downhill anyway. I forgot to pay the hosting company and they deleted the entire site but it doesn’t matter anyway because I2FV1 was never going to succeed. It wasn’t authentic. It wasn’t me. What I write about now is more organic and better received.
But it took a while to get back to me. Nights of deep sleep and nightmares. Waking up and realizing that it did just happen. It was like a wound I carried around that wouldn’t heal until I figured out my next step. And with time, I eventually did and still am figuring it out. But at least the nightmares have stopped.
But back to the point about failure – it happens. To a lot of people actually. I have a list of 15 below. People who try fail. The secret of success is that you keep trying.
15 – Elvis was fired by the manager of the Grand Ole Opry in 1954 after just one performance. He was told he should go back to drivin’ a truck.
14 – Steven Spielberg got rejected from film school three times.
13 – Stephen King threw out his manuscript for Carrie. His wife fished it out of the trash and encouraged him to submit it to publishers. Carrie was rejected 30 times before it was sold. His book “On Writing” is a must read for writers, even if you’re not into his books.
12 – Michael Jordan was cut from his high school basketball team. This is a favorite quote of mine – “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.”
11 – Sir James Dyson went through 5,126 failed prototypes over a fifteen year period before his 5,217th worked. The Dyson brand is now the best-selling vacuum cleaner in the US.
10 – Harry Potter writer J.K. Rowling was a divorced, unemployed mother raising her daughter while on social security. She is the first billionaire writer.
9 – R.H. Macy started seven failed business before he founded Macy’s.
8 – Soichiro Honda applied for an engineering position with Toyota Motor Corp but didn’t get the gig. Left unemployed, he started making scooters at home and eventually started his own company.
7 – John Grisham was a lawyer before he became a writer. It took him three years to write A Time to Kill and it was rejected by 28 different publishers. The 29th publisher said yes and today he has sold more than 250 million copies of his books.
6 – The Beatles were rejected by quite a few labels and were told “guitar groups are on the way out.” The rest is history.
5 – Sarah Silverman was fired from Saturday Night Live after only a year on the show. None of her sketches ever made it to air.
4 – Charles Schults was rejected for a position with Disney before he created the famous Peanuts comic strip.
3 – Vera Wang started her infamous bridal design business at 40, only after she was passed up for the Editor-in-Chief position at Vogue.
2 – Akio Morita is the co-founder of Sony. Their first product was a rice cooker.
1 – Oprah was fired from her job as a TV reporter because she was “unfit for TV.”
They didn’t give up and neither should I. Or you.