The Formula to Success is 90% failure! That’s it…now go out and fail. What?
As I watched the memorable commencement address actor Denzel Washington gave at the University of Pennsylvania, I was deeply moved because of my own failures and how they shaped my appreciation for success.
Failures are everywhere, it’s just that we don’t usually stop to think or appreciate them. Failure does not mean you’re a loser. No, just that you’re someone who’s actively playing in the game of life. You’re a player.
Scientists Einstein (creator of e=mc2 which changed our view of physics) and Edison (inventor of the light bulb), billionaires Akio Morita (founder of Sony) and Bill Gates (co-founder of Microsoft)…
Hall of Fame sports icons Michael Jordan (6-time world champion in basketball) and Hank Aaron (one-time home run king for decades in baseball), or Denzel Washington…all admitted that they failed more than they succeeded.
Millions more of unsung entrepreneurs and average folks have too. I’m sure, if you’re honest enough, you have as well. So have I. Painful, huh?
In school you didn’t make it to the “honors” category, for some you didn’t finish at all. You’ve failed in your relationships, in family dealings matters, in sports while growing up, in business, in losing weight, in securing that coveted promotion, in finding the correct mate === what ever — bottom-line is that you’ve failed. Admit it.
The problem is that we live in a tinsel world where we see results on social media of family and friends success and on magazine covers. We see the glitz and glamour of success… the posts and photos of the travel, the cars, the awards, the house, the wardrobe, and so on.
We see all that but what we don’t see and aren’t a witness to is the pain and the struggle [their failures] they went through to savor that moment of success. Truth be told, sometimes we become haters of their success.
We don’t see the massive losses sustained in the real estate or stock markets during the long and brutal Great Recession or that previous business an entrepreneur friend lost after trying their best and pouring buckets of cash into it to keep it afloat.
We don’t see the 1,100 daily practice shots that Jordan took each day, the rejection and grind that Morita went through with Sony in the beginning, the 1,000 failed experiments of Edison.
We see none of that. Instead we focus on famous people’s, our mentor’s, our competitors, our neighbor’s, friend’s, co-workers or entrepreneurs dazzling “overnight success.”
Failure is a funny thing. It’s something generally we don’t want to own up to. It’s something we want to hide away in the closet of our shameful memories. However, as my friend Les Brown says, “If you don’t fail, then you’re not trying!”
Failure sucks, it’s true, but it still hurts. It’s painful. It’s embarrassing. To ourselves, to family and friends. It’s hard to admit a failure.
Failure though does not define you. It’s how we react to and what we do with it that makes failure count.
There are only two options to failure: (1) We give up and shrivel away into insignificance or,
(2) We continue with our grind and hustle. We drive to be significant and make a difference.
Failure drives our inner energy, we become more focused, driven and obsessed with succeeding despite the set-backs. We move one foot in front of the other and “FALL FORWARD.”
When I lost millions upon millions, I was in 100% survival mode. For a wee second I was depressed.
I asked myself, “How in the heck did I go from being a multi-millionaire hanging with other millionaires at invite-only VIP places, two homes, private flying, etc. to driving people around in my car to make money to put food on the table for a family of five?”
Yet, in that moment of being a Lyft driver the failures of losing millions in the markets and real estate development deals DID not define me.
I reflected and continued to plan my game, execute, hustle, create, be of service, and stay positive listening to podcasts while planning my come back. I moved forward past the painful failures like Einstein, Edison, Jordan, and millions of others who’ve done the same.
In creating THE 1% FORMULA I wanted to distill the best of the best advice I wish I had before the failures I sustained. No BS., no hype, no rubbing of my success in your face, pure caring and honesty, no guarantees other than being a driver for work hard, hustle, hacking your success, investing wisely, and stop stupid habits like irreverent spending like an idiot.
Failure is and can be a good thing. It can be a motivator, it can be a humbler of your character, a guide to work more, but failure never can, or should be, a definer of your character or self-worth. If you’re swinging for the fences failure is imminent (a good batting average in baseball is 33%. That means 66% of the time they fail).
So, keep swinging for the fences, bring plenty of bats and baseballs and massive mental brawn!
===== About the Author =====
Louis F. Vargas is co-creator and advisor of the business development & high performance Mastermind group “The 1% Formula.” The goal is to make sure members thrive, have life balance and make a difference.
He is a #1 bestselling author, former founder of 3 “Inc.500” companies and Chief Revenue/Marketing Officer at Brand TM, a consulting & strategy agency.
He consults on hacking business growth, joint-ventures, branding, and market expansion for Fortune 500’s, funded start-ups, and established Small-to-Medium size businesses.