A sky-diving instructor was asked, “How many successful jumps must a student make before he or she can become certified?”

He answered, “All of them.”

Sky diving, however, is the exception. Is your life built on a series of successes? Do you usually attempt something new and immediately succeed, then succeed again and again? Or more likely, do you find that it is the other way around?

Our successes are often built on smaller failures. We fell off the bike a few times before we learned to ride. And we produced a few culinary failures before we baked a successful layered cake or prepared a satisfactory omelet.

Tom Hopkins observes, “The number of times I succeed is in direct proportion to the number of times I can fail and keep on trying.” And Winston Churchill stated, “Success is going from failure to failure without a loss of enthusiasm.” They both agree that discouragement, rather than failure, is the enemy of success. Those who can remain hopeful and focused, though they fail, are those who will eventually succeed.

In all, Emily Dickinson is said to have written nearly eighteen hundred poems. Though fewer than a dozen were published in her lifetime and the first volume of her poetry was not published until four years after her death, Dickinson’s success is attributed to the fact that she did not allow discouragement to keep her from her poetry.

As she wrote so beautifully:

“Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul
And sings the tune without the words
And never stops at all.”

Hope … never stops. Where would we be today had Emily Dickinson lost her enthusiasm for writing? Though largely unrecognized, she kept her desire alive and we now remember her as one of the great poets of all time.

It’s good to remember that success may be just beyond the next failure, and you’ll get there, not because you’re destined to, but because you’re determined to.

— Steve Goodier

Painting | Oil on Canvas | Re-write the Destiny in Your Hands | Susan Q. Brown


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