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Op/Ed

We challenge you to rethink how you look at failure, big or small

(EDITORIAL) Wise words from Thomas Edison: “I never failed once. It just happened to be a 2,000-step process.” Let’s discuss Edison’s theory of failure.

Thomas Edison did not fear failure.

I was pondering how little I got done yesterday because of chronic pain and I started feeling like I was a failure. I should be able to get my work done no matter how much pain I may be experiencing. Then, I read some wise words from Thomas Edison, “I never failed once. It just happened to be a 2,000-step process.”

Even on days when things seem their absolute worst, it doesn’t mean you’re a failure; it means you’re having a bad day, experience, problem, or situation. I know I’m not alone in this feeling of “failure” when things don’t go the way we plan.

Failure the Facilitator 

So often failure is thought of as a negative thing, when actually, it’s a facilitator; failure teaches us to innovate, to revise, and to try again. Failure is only failure if you quit trying. Did you know Edison’s first invention was rejected? Hardly anyone remembers his failures; he’s known for being a successful inventor and innovator. If this first invention would have been accepted, he likely wouldn’t have created the inventions for which he is famous.

[clickToTweet tweet=”Everyone has different obstacles to overcome on their “2000-step process”.” quote=”Everyone has different obstacles to overcome on their “2000-step process”.”]

If you’re a manager, you may need to innovate ways to reach more employees; just because the first method doesn’t work like you thought it would, doesn’t mean you’re a failure: it means you need to find a different way to get your point across. Take a step back and reassess where the problem is and what you can do to reach people more effectively. Unsure? Ask for feedback and give it another try.

Own your 2,000 steps

As a real estate professional and entrepreneur, failure will happen often and that’s okay. Keep your dream in sight and find another way to push through the problem, and if you can’t find a way on your own, ask for help.

Oftentimes, getting another person’s perspective can make all the difference in getting results. You need that “2000-step process” to innovate, prioritize, learn, and make the necessary adjustments to be a success.

Here’s the thing though, no matter how successful you are, how great your ideas are, how many times you innovate, you’re still going to fail. And fail again. Even when you’re disappointed and rejected, hold on to your dreams, because success can come slowly and that’s okay; have hope. Have heart. Be persistent. Be patient. Try another way and when that doesn’t work, try another.

The only thing that defines failure is the absence of trying.

If it takes 2000-steps or 10,000, keep trying.

Jennifer Walpole is a Senior Staff Writer at The American Genius and holds a Master's degree in English from the University of Oklahoma. She is a science fiction fanatic and enjoys writing way more than she should. She dreams of being a screenwriter and seeing her work on the big screen in Hollywood one day.

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