The Surprising Skill You NEED to Have to Be a Success
Do you have big dreams for the future, but sometimes wonder if you really have what it takes? There is one skill you NEED to have to be a success that I guarantee will surprise you.
If I had to name a personal hero, I’d have to say J.K. Rowling. It’s no secret that I’m an avid Harry Potter fan. But I also love Rowling’s passion, attitude, and fearlessness. What people may not know about J.K. Rowling is all of the hardships she endured to bring the gift of Harry Potter to the masses.
While Rowling was writing the first Harry Potter book, she says that she considered herself a failure at just about everything she had attempted to do in her life. She was rejected from Oxford and her marriage to her daughter’s father ended in divorce. While writing her first book, Rowling was a depressed, single mother living with her sister.
It took J.K. Rowling 5 years to finish writing her book and when she tried to get it published, it was rejected by all 12 major publishing houses. But she continued to submit it for publication until it was finally picked up by a small publishing house. 8 years later, Rowling was a billionaire.
It’s tempting to think of Rowling as a persistent person who knew she had something good or even someone who snagged a lucky break. But in reality, the reason we know J.K. Rowling’s name today, the reason Harry Potter is a part of all of our childhoods is because the woman had a tolerance for failure.
If you spend some time digging around on the internet, you will find that EVERY successful person on the planet has a high tolerance for failure. Say what?! Why would a capacity for failure be a factor for success? It’s completely counter-intuitive, right? Here are 4 ways that a tolerance for failure can help you to be a success.
1. Failure helps you learn faster
Does that surprise you? Here’s why. There are 3 main ways that people learn:
- Being told how to do it (Instruction)
- Watching someone do it (Observation)
- Trying it for yourself (Experience)
Experience is by far the most effective, but it involves a LOT of mistakes. Think back on your life. Were you able to tie your shoes, read, or ride a bike the first time you tried it? No way, right? It takes a lot of practice. But you learned from each attempt until you got it.
Little kids have no fear of failure. They want to do everything and they’ll keep trying until they get it. Somewhere along the line though, we lose that. And we miss out on so many chances to learn new skills along with it.
When you’re learning something new, try to focus on the process instead of the outcome. That way you’ll be proud of each step of your progress instead of feeling embarrassed that you don’t have it down perfectly yet.
2. Be a success by trying new things
Fear of failure makes us reluctant to try new things. But to achieve any worthy goal, you have to take risks. And risk brings opportunities for failure. So if you have big goals, you HAVE to be able to tolerate the possibility of failure.
The good new though, is that tolerance for risk helps you to innovate and stand out, which puts you way ahead of your play-it-safe competition. (Did you hear about the girl who got into Yale by writing her essay on her love of ordering pizza?)
The key is to choose “failures” that are worth the risk. Failing a test in an AP class you took to increase your chances of getting into your dream school is a failure worth pursuing. Failing a test because you skipped it to go to the beach is just a bad decision.
Would you like a daily reminder of what it really takes to be a success?
3. Failure teaches you how to cope with challenges
Have you ever noticed that a lot of success stories are people who had to overcome adversity early in life? That’s because the best way to develop a tolerance for failure is to experience it early and often.
WHAT?! That is NOT what we’ve been told by parents and teachers, right? People make it sound like if you make a single mistake, your life is over. Not so! Failure actually helps you grow. We need to have chances to practice failing.
To achieve your best, you have to think big and push yourself. Embracing the possibility of failure is the key to taking on the challenges needed to do that. So seek out small challenges toward the greater vision for your future and welcome those small failures.
4. Be a success by pushing past failure
You can’t always get things right the first time. No matter how smart you are or how well you plan, mistakes will be made. So the ability to learn from failure is absolutely vital. That’s why one of the most common characteristics of successful people is resilience in the face of failure.
Remember the Apple Newton? What’s that you say? You DON’T remember the Apple Newton? The Newton was Apple’s first attempt at creating a tablet in the 90’s. And it was a epic failure. But Steve Jobs was convinced that tablets were the future and continued to improve on the design. Despite being a massive failure, the Apple Newton inspired many aspects of future designs. Let’s just say that Apple survived that failure just fine.
In the end, nobody really wants failure. It’s the success that follows failure that we’re shooting for. It just so happens that the quickest road to be a success is to have a no fear attitude toward failure. So learn to embrace failure. Try new things. Take risks and challenge yourself. Keep pushing until you get what you want. And if you fail along the way, just know that you’re in great company.