“The phoenix must burn to emerge.” – Janet Fitch
Can you imagine a world without the light bulb? It took 1,000 failures before Edison could invent it. Thomas Edison chose to account for his initial failures in this way “It took 1,000 steps to get to the light bulb” (Success, Pauline Estrem, 2016)
I remember as young student teachers going out on our first student teacher practice we gathered in a classroom to get clarity from the lecturer about a new concept that was added to the curriculum. Instead of acting to alleviate our confusion he smiled and said, “When you’re confused you’re learning. He might not have been far from the truth. By the end of the tenure of student teaching we were possessors of great understandings. We were satisfactorily illumined
But who wants to work through failure or ambiguity? Experience shows that from time to time our world will be catapulted into a state of flux. However, it is as we try to wade through the flux that clarity comes and the seemingly obscure pathway becomes clear. We certainly do not arrive at the platform of success using parameters of the past. Within the context of ambiguity or failure there are certain dynamics. These dynamics propel us toward making purposeful, strategic shifts vital for interface with new dawn that is headed our way. Another way of looking at the failure/ success dynamic is to recognize that missteps/ failure/ mistakes challenge our assumptions and cause us to rethink or think of new ways required by the arriving new dynamics.
Michael Jordan, legendary basketball player who won MVP five times and led the Chicago bulls to six NBA championships confessed “I have failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”
Arianna Huffington is one who recognizes that success is built off of failure. Thirty six publishers thought her second book was not good enough. Now she is the author of 36 books and the owner of the Huffington post media group.
Vera Wang despite training hard as figure skater disappointingly failed to make the Olympic team in 1968. Yet she went on to work first for Vogue and Ralph Lauren then became a revered name in the designing world.
After a debilitating history of domestic abuse, Tina Turner made one of the biggest come back in music history. She ascended to the top of the rock & roll hall charts with the release of her songs “What’s Love Got To Do With It” and Private Dancer. Private Dancer won three Grammys and sold 10 million copies around the world (RollingStone Magazine).
Do you know the back story of Lucille Ball? Her biography would have said failed B movie actress. But then came the “I love Lucy series” that brought her success beyond her wildest dreams. Ultimately her biography had to be rewritten to indicate her ionic status as one of Hollywood’s most talented actors/actresses.
Humans, it seems must check into at the teaching point of failure en route to success.
By Ingrid Rizzolo author of Splendor from Ashes