I own a martial arts school. I've instructed martial arts for
many years. Also, like a lot of people, I’ve played sports. And in
my experience, you always have those individuals who don't
want to make a mistake.
It's like the football player who wants to be great and score a
bunch of touchdowns, but he never wants to get tackled. He
never wants to be judged, never wants to be seen as a failure.
But when you lose, you learn. If you’re not losing, you’re not
Not that coming in first is a bad thing, at all. Certainly that’s
your ultimate goal. And even when you come in first, you learn
You learn that you can beat somebody that maybe you thought
you couldn't. And how did you beat them? What specific steps
did you take to do that? How did you earn that promotion?
What did you do in that interview to be picked over all those
other well-qualified candidates? What did you do to turn the
tide in the game? Those are all questions you can learn from.
But the bottom line is, the more you fall down, the better you
get at getting back up.
The people who are the most successful in this world have
probably lost more than anybody else.
I’ll give you a couple of examples:
Michael Jordan
Michael Jordan has one of the most prolific reputations in all
of sports. You can say “Michael Jordan” in almost any country
in the world, and everyone knows who he is. Anyway you look
at it he's been quite successful: From movies, to lines of
clothing, to being one of the greatest - if not THE greatest -
basketball players in all of history.
I think he’s up there with taking more shots than any
basketball player ever. And if he’s taken more shots at the
basket than any other basketball player, that means he’s
probably missed more than any other basketball player. He’s
scored more points than almost any other player, ever in
history, and he’s also missed more than any other basketball
player ever in history.
Because he keeps trying it over and over and over. And when
you try something, you open up the possibility that you will
If you’re not failing, it's only because you’re not doing anything.
Failing repeatedly means you’re getting that much closer to
accomplishing your goal.
Brett Favre
As of the time of this writing, Brett Favre has two distinct
records. He has the record for the most touchdowns ever
thrown in NFL history. He also has the record for the most
So, I'm telling you that the same individual with the record for
the most touchdowns also has the most interceptions?
Because he's always trying. He’s not afraid to make a mistake.
He’s not afraid to learn from his mistakes.
Along with the chance of making a mistake comes that chance
that you’re going to make it – that you might throw that
touchdown. Hey, it might be an interception that’s returned by the other team 99 yards at the end of the game, which would be absolutely disgraceful. But it could also be the touchdown
that wins the game and clinches the Super Bowl.
He has the heart, the desire, the will, and the belief in himself
to put himself out there. So he owns both the touchdown and
the interception record.
You have to fail at the right things
Let this statement ring in your ears, loud and clear: If
you want to be mistake-free in life, if you never want to do
anything wrong - don’t try anything. And rest assured, you
won’t do anything wrong. You’ll be that sailboat in the middle
of the ocean, with its anchor dug into the bottom, going
nowhere, doing nothing - and not getting ahead.
A certain amount of failure is inevitable. The trick is to fail at
good things. The criminal who goes to jail time and time again
is failing repeatedly. Is he getting closer to his goal? Possibly -
if being locked up for the rest of his life is his goal. He’s getting
closer to something, certainly, but it’s not a positive outcome.
When somebody is really good at something, generally all you
see is the finished product. For example, I remember watching
a show on TV about Garth Brooks. (I’m not a big Country fan,
but I admire this story.)
Garth Brooks spent approximately the first seven years of his
music career playing in small bars wherever he could, for
almost nothing, and getting booed off the stage. They were a
cover band, playing other people’s songs. No one wanted to
hear their original music. Then when he finally did strike a
deal with a major music company for the first time, basically
he didn’t understand the contract and he got screwed out of a
lot of money.
Ultimately he prevailed, but it certainly didn’t happen
overnight. All most people saw, though, was this tremendous
Country star who sold millions and millions of records and
became rich "almost overnight" – until someone dug around
and found out, Hey, this guy’s road to success was very long,
and tedious, and constantly under construction. It actually
took a long time for his career to take shape.
That’s the story for most people who are successful in life -
unless you win the Lotto and become a millionaire overnight.

That’s no real effort. But if you’re out there trying and trying
and trying...
Say you’re an actor, and you’re going out for parts over and
over again, just to be told “No, you’re horrible. What are you
doing? Get a real job!” Guess what – when you’re up on the big
screen, that guy who told you you’re horrible will be sitting in
the movie theater watching your movie. Because you were
taking the steps all along. You knew how to take rejection, and
you knew how to prevail.
Success, failure, and other people
When it comes to setting a goal, you’re going to have a stadium
full of individuals who don’t want you to succeed. For most of
them it's a passive thought: “Yeah, he’s not going to make it.
He’ll be back. It’s not going to work for him.” But some people
are actively and constantly giving you negative feedback.
If somebody doesn’t have the desire that you have, they'll say
things to you like:
“You know, that’s good and all, but what you really need to
do is...”
“You know, that’s a gimmick, that’s a get-rich-quick
scheme, that’s a...”
Now there are a lot of get-rich-quick schemes out there, so
beware. But what I'm talking about here are people who will try
to drag you down to where they are.
Maybe this person secretly wishes he or she could be more like
you. But it takes a lot of guts to come right out and say that. It
takes a lot of heart, and it takes a big person to honestly and
genuinely admire somebody else, and say so. So they try to
tear you down instead.
In a relationship, if one person is way up here and the other
person is way down there, there are two options:
1) Either one has to come up, or
2) the other has to go down.
There generally is not a happy medium. The person on the
bottom starts to become more like the person on the top, or the
person on the top starts to become more like the person on the
When I say a person is "up here," I mean they’re successful,
they’re goal oriented, they’re getting in shape, and so on. And
the person "down there" is negative and petty and sits around
all day making excuses and complaining.
You have to remember, like attracts like. Generally that hardworking
CEO who is well-to-do and is a family man and has a
lot of nice possessions is not going to be hanging out with
thugs on the weekend. He's not out selling crack on the corner,
or shoplifting at Wal-Mart. Whereas the guy who’s shoplifting
at Wal-Mart is probably not out looking for a job as a CEO.
Like attracts like, and people hang out with their own kind.
People who are used to you being a certain way don’t really
want you to succeed - until you do. Then they’ll pat you on the
The truth is, the more negativity you encounter, and the
more people are trying to bring you down, the closer you
are to actually getting somewhere. People, if they don’t care,
generally won’t say anything. So if you stir people up, you’re
probably getting somewhere in life. Keep going in that
Be willing to fail - a lot
You have to remember that when setting your goals, you have
to be willing to fail. You have to be willing to fail a lot. Failure
is nothing more than a hurdle, then another hurdle, then
another hurdle. You’re getting somewhere. You’re not falling
down. And if you do fall down, you need to get back up.
Once again, the most successful people in the world have to
fail more than anybody else. If you choose to be one of them,
you can't be afraid to fail. Because by eliminating what not to
do, you’re getting closer to what you should do. And sooner or
later you will reach your goal.

Author's Bio: 

Christopher Sutton, author
of the Fight for Success
Personal Professional
Development Series, is a
lifetime professional
martial artist with over 25
years of training and
teaching experience. He
has also started and built
several successful small