Seeking Success

Dictionary.com defines success as the favorable or prosperous termination of attempts or endeavors. That is probably what most of us think of when the think of success. But, I believe it is more than that.

Success from Failure

Some of our greatest successes actually come out of the things we learn when we fail. For example, consider the quote attributed to Thomas Edison as he attempted to make a light bulb. “I have not failed 1,000 times. I have successfully discovered 1,000 ways to NOT make a light bulb.” While there remains some question as to whether Edison really said this, the idea is valid. We often experience what at first seems to be failure, only to later learn that it was a step toward eventual success.

We cannot let what looks like failure to paralyze us and keep us from continuing to try. “Success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm.” – Sir Winston Churchill

Anyone who has started a business should be able to appreciate what Churchill said. We will all fail, but the key is to not let any failure be the final word on our efforts. Rather, do as Edison and many others and learn from each experience.

Perseverance

If we are sincere in seeking success, it is critical to adopt a never give up attitude. This helps us stay motivated. Just as importantly, it allows us to ignore the naysayers and listen to those who support and encourage us.

Success is a Process

In reality, when we think we have succeeded, we have just gotten started. For example, consider Apple Computer. Did they stop with the success of the Apple II? No, they went on to the Mac and continued to improve it. Then of course iPods, iPhones and iPads followed. The culture of Apple encourages the continuous improvement of what already exist and the development of new products and services. In that sense, success is never final. Each time we think we are successful we have really just reached a milestone. Enjoy it briefly and then start looking for the next thing

What is your attitude toward seeking success? Are you easily discouraged by set-backs and think of them a disastrous failure, or do you view them as a learning process? Do you encourage a culture in your company of creativity and continuous improvement?

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As always, your comments are welcomed.

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