When I hear of the word ‘success’ what immediately comes to my mind is patience and persistence. This is because what I have come to realize after a lot of failures and successes in my life is that nothing great can be achieved without patience and persistence.
Patience means to be ready to face adversities and in many cases to undergo enormous suffering in order to achieve a desired aim. Persistence means not to give up, to remain in the ‘battle’ and ‘fight’ till the end for what you long for.
Most people, however, lack these qualities. They want success in their lives, but they want it the easy way — they are not ready to sacrifice much of themselves, whether that is time or effort or whatsoever is needed. Naturally, they give up quickly and accept ‘defeat.’
Here is a short story about scientist and inventor Thomas Edison, who happened to see his own laboratory aflame:
In 1914 a fire broke out in Thomas Edison’s laboratory. Machinery worth millions and all the papers pertaining to his lifelong research were burnt to ashes. Hearing of this tragedy his son Charles came looking for him and he found him standing by the side enjoying the leaping flames. On seeing Charles, Edison said to him: “Where is Your mother? Go find her and bring her here quickly; such a sight she will never see again!”
The next day, walking amidst the ashes of his hopes and dreams, the 67 year-old inventor said: “What benefit there is in destruction! All our mistakes have been burnt to ashes, thank God! Now we can begin afresh, all over again!”
I don’t know if the story describes a true event, but I know that it contains the kernel of truth about success, which is that success can be achieved only after tremendous amounts of effort and failure. Indeed, only those who persist no matter the obstacles, who are ready to go against the wind no matter the cost, have a chance to succeed.
The story also implies that in order to succeed, one must be able to fully embrace failure. And that regardless of the problems you might be facing, it is in your hands to turn obstacles into stepping stones, to transform negativity into positivity, to make use of failure for your own success. Indeed, every failure brings you a bit closer to success. Every failure eliminates a wrong way so that you can more easily find the right way.
Unless you give up your efforts, you’ve haven’t truly failed. So keep going, knowing that, as Confucius put it, “our greatest glory is not in never falling but in rising every time we fall.”