The difference between successful people and others is how long they spend time feeling sorry for themselves.
I don’t think anyone wants to be a failure. There are some unfortunate souls who claim to desire nothing, but I think they are in a bit too much pain, to see the reality of what they are saying clearly.
No one wants or intends to be a failure, yet chances are if your and mine experience are any indication, that more often than success is not so easily found. Success is elusive. It keeps very exclusive company. It changes its place of residents, it doesn’t pick up the phone, and it certainly doesn’t feel like it’s their responsibility to call you back.
You are going to fail. You are going to fail often. You have to be ready for that. You have to build tough skin for that, because you are no more special than anyone else. But its precisely the fact that you are no different than anyone else that will empower you to be what other people can never seem to be.
So the difference between successful people and those desperately dreaming of success is not that they fall down, but rather how often and how quickly they pick themselves back up again.
Take the responsibility of a hockey goalie. The goaltender has the be the fittest and most focused individual on the ice. They are the most important member of a hockey team, a real leader, yet they can never be captain, because they cannot play each and every game. And even their back up, the goalie who only gets to play because the regular goalie needs to rest, even they need to be someone special, or the team as a whole cannot and will not get anywhere. Certainly not see or taste success, that’s for sure.
What makes great goalies special is that they do not worry about the score or how many goals they let in. They know they have trained a long time, they know they have prepared, and they know they it’s their responsibility to give everyone that is dependent on them another chance to do something. Sometimes that is impossible, the game is way out of hand, but even in those circumstances, the great goalies, don’t feel sorry for themselves, but play hard in order for their team to salvage as much dignity as they can, so they can come out fighting the next time.
Feeling sorry for ourselves comes naturally, but its the length of time we do it that proves most telling where we are going and what we will achieve. It’s impossible to shake failure off as though nothing happened. Anyone that purports to do so is probably fooling themselves or lying.
When you take a fist to the face, you are going to fall down. When you spend money and lose it all, you will not tingle with great anticipation to spend some more. When your marriage breaks down, you are not going to think too highly of yourself, but you have to find the strength and courage to keep moving.
Focus on shortening the time you spend wallowing in your own sewage and regret. Work on bouncing back faster. Prepare as much as you can and develop a sense of purpose that will amaze and inspire others around you.
Failure is inevitable, but the time between is more important. Failure is an event. It happened. It is going to happen. You can’t do anything about it, but the time you spend thinking yourself to be a failure will determine what happens to you next.
Don’t do it. Don’t beat yourself up. Take your lumps. Take your medicine. Do whatever you have to and patch up whatever needs to be patched up and begin to move forward, as soon as you can, no matter how slow or how imperfectly awkward.
There are certainly times you will never win the fight, but there is always a time to take that fight a few more moments, and win the right to fight another round.