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Los Angeles, CA, United States


Friday, March 9, 2012


This evening I was watching ABC News with Diane Sawyer.  They did a piece on Sara Blakely, the billionaire that founded the Spanx underwear.  What caught my attention was her recollection of being at the dinner table and her dad asking "So what did you fail at today?"  Wow-what a concept..not what did you do well today but rather, what did try and fail at today.

Why does this seem so interesting to me? I think it's because that simple question promotes taking risks even in areas that we may not be good in or the likelihood of failure is high.  It promotes pushing our own boundaries and learning that failure is all part of success.   In baseball, you're considered an all star if you get a hit 1 out 3 at bats.  You're a stud basketball player if you make 42% of your 3 point shots.  Success doesn't happen with out trying and trying means that failure becomes a factor in the outcome. 

In Star Wars, Yoda tells Luke..there is no such thing as try.  There is only do or do not.  That is typical of conventional wisdom where we are judged by results.  But I want to think that conventional wisdom is way too safe in life.  Napoleon Hill said “Most great people have attained their greatest success just one step beyond their greatest failure.” 

In so many cases, we are faced with challenges that result in partial success or partial failure.  As people, it's natural to look at the negative and focus on that but how often do we forget the fact that against all odds, we achieved some measure of success and took the challenge head on.  Let's congratulate ourselves on making the attempt.  As we used to say in college, you can't get the girl if you don't ask.  How true is that in life? You can't get what you want if you don't go for it.  If it wasn't a tough get then it wouldn't be worth it.  Shoot for the stars and you might get the moon.  The main point is to shoot.  So as I take my spanx off after a long day of work, I salute you Sara Blakely and thank you for your failure.  High five baby!!!