Quality Magazine

Jim's Gems: Resilience and Success

July 16, 2009

There is a fine line between success and failure. Sometimes the difference is hard to measure. If we could measure that difference, it would be tangible and permit us to repeat it with certainty. However, that difference is, at times, elusive and often we will find the little things are key to the outcome.

The difference between success and failure is not in how many times we get knocked down. The difference is in how quickly we get back on our feet. Have you ever been curious about successful people? They aren’t just lucky. High achievers experience as many setbacks as everyone else, and often more than the average. The difference is that they refuse to let those setbacks stop them from moving forward.

There are numerous things that can come along to ruin our plans, and many of those things are impossible to avoid. However, we don’t have to let those things ruin our day, our effort, our attitude or our determination to continue moving forward.

The more setbacks or failures, the more it is possible to learn and understand how to push forward toward our goals. When this happens, we can transform every setback into a new opportunity.

When a situation changes unexpectedly and negatively, choose to quickly adjust your thought, strategy or effort. Be assured that somewhere in all that change is valuable information and energy. All that is needed is to harness that energy and put it to positive use.

When you experience a setback and get knocked down, get up quickly. You’ll very likely see a new way forward that you had never noticed before. For example, where would we be if Thomas A. Edison had not kept trying to invent the light bulb? Edison mortgaged everything he had in an attempt to invent a light bulb that could continue to illuminate for more than a few minutes. It took months for Edison and his team to find the right combination of ingredients. They produced one experimental light bulb after another, but each proved defective. A huge variety of filaments, glass bulbs and regulator mechanisms were tried and abandoned. Success finally came on October 21, 1879 after hundreds of trials. That is resilience and it played a significant role in his success and affected the entire world.

Why not you?