The difference between failure and success sometimes boils down to the impact of a mere 1% – that final 1%.
That is because this typically represents the point where mental and/or physical fatigue has set in; where past failures along the way have led you to doubt whether you have what it takes to complete what you started; or where your early enthusiasm has been replaced by questioning the wisdom of having started in the first place. But…
Having already done the hard work; having already made tremendous sacrifices; or having already gone 99% of the distance, you could very well miss out – IF YOU STOP NOW.
O. N. Rowe
The difference between success and failure might well boil down to that final 1%, where you struggle the most to go on, and where you feel like you have done everything you can do. It is at that point where your success might very well be closer than you think – perhaps just 1% of incremental effort away.
Often times success vs. failure; or having a ‘good’ vs. ‘bad’ day; or even the kind of outcome we have at the end of an activity, is determined by a combination of our expectations of success/reward, our approach and/or our attitude.
When we choose to get up, show up for the task at hand, and give it our best shot, we are increasing our IMPACT, whether this be on our personal pursuits, our family, our work Team or the Organization as a whole. With an increase in our impact we are increasing our chances of success.
However, when we simply sit back, go through the motions, and just let things happen, we are setting ourselves for failure by giving up control over the outcomes, and often times the result is quite underwhelming and disappointing!
Each day is an opportunity for us to INCREASE our impact, and that is the surest way to REDUCE the undesirable impact of external factors on the outcomes we desire.
O. N. Rowe
So don’t just wait for things to happen TO you. MAKE things happen FOR you, the way YOU want them to. That is the surest way to secure a positive outcome.
What exactly is success, and who defines what success looks like? Who said ‘success’ has to be the achievement of some grand, lofty goal, as measured by societal norms? Who so pompously declared that for you, even getting up out of bed isn’t a resounding success of the highest order? And who said you even need to have already finished what you started in order for it to qualify as ‘success?’
When our focus is merely on ‘success’ we tend to see anything short of that as failure. We might feel our effort has been wasted. We might even feel that the nay-sayers who voiced their pessimistic views or words of discouragement, were right! Such a view not only ignores our effort, but also dampens our drive to undertake a future task where a successful outcome is not assured. And that would be a most unfortunate outcome.
However, when we put our journey in its correct perspective we will see that it takes a special kind of courage to take on a challenge, especially one that takes every ounce of courage we have. Your struggles are often personal to you, and you alone are most intimately aware of the struggle you face daily.
You are best placed to be your biggest cheerleader. Sometimes, even the decision to START, translates to success and that is worth celebrating.
O. N. Rowe
I am convinced that by redefining success you will find that you have been displaying tremendous courage all along, and deserve far greater credit than you had thought.
Just because something might be harder for you to do, or take you longer to do, is not a reason to avoid the challenge. In fact, a willingness to take on a challenge despite the obvious difficulties it will present, demonstrates a greater act of courage than any accomplishment by someone for whom it would be considered ‘easy.’
Courage is when you don’t see the full way ahead, but you start anyway. Courage is when you decide that instead of putting your life into someone else’s hand, you are going to take charge and set about building the best life you can. Courage is leaving an abusive relationship even though you don’t know how you will make ends meet. Courage is leaving your comfort zone in pursuit of your dream.
Ascribing to yourself – or to others – a level of courage, success, or even effort solely on the basis of meeting a specific goal is to miss the fact that courage at times is not tangible. In other words, you cannot judge something someone does as having been ‘courageous’ just because they do something. I believe that courage is to be assessed by factors that are often internal to the person experiencing a particular fear or trepidation.
It is therefore not fair to deny yourself the satisfaction of each small step you make; it is not fair to deny yourself the patience you need when you have tried and failed; it is not fair to deny yourself the forgiveness you need when you ‘fall off the wagon’ and are back at Day One in your tracking; it is not fair to deny yourself the opportunity you need to grow into someone you can be proud of, recognizing that you are not yet who you want to be but you are working on it – you are working on YOU!
It is not fair to deny yourself the freedom you need to recognize and celebrate your victories as you go about exercising the courage you have within you.
So often we fail to give ourselves credit for some accomplishment, because we either see it as something we ‘should be able to do anyways;’ or perhaps it is something that society dictates that we should have already done.
These expectations help to shape our vision of what success looks like, and sometimes even have preconceptions of what it will take to get us there. We think about the destination, but sometimes forget to recognize the importance of the journey itself. While possible, achieving success might not be easy, and if we allow our fear to take root, that can easily guarantee failure. But should that stop us from trying?
To some people, mastery of the most complex processes will come easy; to others not so much. To some people, carrying out the most daring or challenging activity will come easy; again to others, not so much.
Courage is not the absence of fear; instead it is choosing to push forward even in the face of fear. It is about confronting a challenge even when all the indicators point to defeat or failure, just because you recognize there is a greater good to be achieved by the mere fact that you are willing to attempt to fight your way through.
Your situation, whatever it happens to be – but especially if it seems impossible – is your opportunity to demonstrate courage!
O. N. Rowe
Courage looks different for different people. For some, courage is standing up for what you know is right, no matter how unpopular it makes you. Courage is being willing to forgive someone because deep down you know it is the best thing for you, even when to others it appears that it’s because you are weak. Courage is not a loud shout; instead it is a quiet purring that slowly but surely tears down the wall of fear that you, or society, have put up around you.
Courage comes in many forms, and to those who do not know your story, it might be mistaken as insanity. Courage is choosing to proceed nevertheless. Some might mischaracterize your fear as cowardice. Well if they only knew how courageous you are being by choosing to confront it anyway!
Pushing ourselves beyond our limits is almost a guaranteed recipe for failure – by doing so we are basically setting ourself up to fail.
There are some pursuits in life that to some might be considered futile, since for the ‘rational’ person, they are not achievable. At least NOT by us. Yes, some will go as far as telling you it is not that it is impossible; it is just impossible for YOU.
Perhaps you are an amputee who dream of climbing a mountain; maybe you are someone with a speech impediment working hard to become a public speaker. Perhaps you are someone struggling with low self-esteem from a turbulent past or some condition that makes your pursuits so much more difficult to attain!
Yes you MIGHT very well fail; but isn’t the possibility of SUCCESS it’s own motivator? Isn’t your own will to win strong enough to make you actually do the ‘impossible?’ Does someone else know more about you and your capabilities than you know about yourself?
When someone doubts your ability, or indeed your capacity, to accomplish greatness, that’s often because of jealousy or their own narrow-minded view of themselves. Do not allow them to impose that on you.
At the same time, so what if you fail? It is by stretching ourselves that we achieve more, even more than what we ourselves previously thought possible. It is how we test the limits of our human capabilities.
There is great education in failure, including:
⁃ We learn what doesn’t work
⁃ We learn humility
⁃ We learn tenacity
⁃ We learn a lot about ourselves
⁃ We learn about how others view us
⁃ We learn to appreciate the satisfaction of success when it is ultimately achieved
Failing is a necessary part of life because every failure increases the chance of success – providing we actually learn from each failure. You see, failing is never final until we stop trying.
So don’t be too hard on yourself when you fail at something challenging. Ultimately, it is better to fail at a lofty goal than to achieve a mediocre goal that is designed to merely ‘be safe’.