Use Failure as Your Slingshot

Abraham Lincoln

The greatest business people, actors, politicians, athletes, and scientists all persevere through failure in their careers before they reach a high level of success. When they do reach that point, there comes a great calm. They realize that their disappointments were some of the best moments of their careers because they used them to improve on their next move.

Life is a beautiful struggle, and the great people of our history used each failure as a slingshot to create a better life. One of the greatest of them was Abraham Lincoln. His failures were numerous and would have crushed a weaker willed person.

  • Failed in business in 1831

  • Defeated for the legislature in 1832

  • Failed in business again in 1834

  • Ann Rutledge, the love of his life died in 1835

  • Nervous breakdown in 1836

  • Defeated in an election in 1838

  • Defeated for Congress in 1843, 1846, and a third time in 1848

  • Defeated for Senate in 1855

  • Defeated for Vice President in 1856

  • Defeated for Senate in 1858

  • 1860 he was finally elected President!

Every living thing struggles to live. Famous actors struggle with the paparazzi, I struggle with my career, everyone struggles with their relationships, rich people struggle with illness, and everyone struggles with the possibility of death. Every struggle creates new places for joy. The truly great people understand that failure isn’t the measure of a person, but it is what they do with that failure that decides how successful they become.

It is a mistake to suppose that men succeed through success; they much oftener succeed through failures. Precept, study, advice, and example could never have taught them so well as failure has done.
– Samuel Smiles

It’s using that struggle to help improve your life that makes the difference between success and accepting defeat. Use your difficulties to make yourself stronger. Use you failure as a slingshot toward happiness and you’ll succeed.

Related Articles

* Photo courtesy of pingnews

13 thoughts on “Use Failure as Your Slingshot”

  1. Rajaie AlKorani

    I’ve seen a couple of posts similar to your over the past couple of weeks, and I agree with the concept, that failure is just another way of learning.

    “I have not failed . I’ve just found 10000 ways that won’t work.”

    -Thomas Edison

  2. Tom Volkar / Dellightful Work

    Karl I enjoyed picturing my missteps as a slingshot. There is a resilient action quality to that picture that is very encouraging. The slingshot also brings to mind a refocusing on the target when we miss the mark. Good stuff, thank you.

    Tom Volkar / Dellightful Work’s last blog post..The Three Most Direct Ways to Earn More Money Now

  3. Hey Cedric, Lincoln was a man ahead of his time.

    Hey Barbara, it’s cool to look back on life and appreciate the people who have been there through the tough times. Some of my greatest friends that I still stay in touch with forgave me for some silly mistakes and vice versa. Our love is greater then one or two awkward situations.

    Hey Rajaie, failure is a great teacher and Edison was one of it’s best students.

  4. Its an inspiration to hear even those most looked at as such success, could have once felt the average mile stones we all feel. But even greater that they show us not to give up.

  5. Hey Tom, when we can use our failures to help us refocus, we are learning to be successful. Very well put.

    Hey Cali, we should never give up if we believe. That’s the most important part, believing in ourselves. There is so much potential in all of us and if we learn to harness it we can really change the world.

  6. Lincoln is the quintessential example of a chronic failer making good–perfect choice. I’d love to see a post on how to know the difference between failures you should pursue and failures you should learn from and leave behind!

    Sara’s last blog post..Why Choose Simplicity?

  7. So Abe did not set the world on fire , perhaps he had the right ideas but did not see success because the tools weren’t there for him to use . We will all fail at some stage at something . But with the experience and guidence from others , even a word of encouragement can start the ball rolling .
    Presidents are not born to lead , they learn to lead .
    I have found that given the right tools I can make a difference in my life and in the lives of others . My friend Ken has shown me how I can do just that.
    Here is his story .

  8. Hey Chris, I hope that your students are really paying attention because they will all fail. If that lesson can sink in they’ll be a lot more resilient than their peers.

    Hey Sara, I think that your idea for when to pursue failure and when to drop it is a good idea. I’ll try to put something together this week.

    Hey John, we have so many more tools at our disposal than Lincoln did back in his time. We really need to take advantage of all our resources to become smarter, happier, and more fulfilled.

  9. Pingback: Work Happy Now! » Does Luck Play a Role at Your Job?

Comments are closed.