Thursday, October 24, 2019

Success and Failure


This week's topic was selected by Ramana. Be sure to check his take on Ramana's Musings.

There are those who suggest you cannot have success without failure -Thomas Edison reportedly failed 10,000 times before coming up with a successful light bulb.  Old Tom was a patient guy, apparently.

It is interesting to note that the standard for success in any endeavor also indicates the relationship of failure to that endeavor. it is October and the World Series is being played between the American and National league champions. Baseball is interesting in that it offers a relatively high degree of failure for players when examining their batting standards. A player that fails 70% when batting has a batting average of 300. Ted Williams - considered one of the greatest hitters of all time had a career average of .344, Babe Ruth .342. That means every thousand at bats during his career, Williams failed 756 times and Ruth failed 758 times. Pitchers, on the other hand, that fail at those same rates likely will be out of the leagues and considered failures. Sandy Koufax, arguably the greatest left-handed pitcher of all time finished his injury shortened career with a 165 and 87 won/loss record.  Nolan Ryan, a right-hander, pitched 7 no hitters and ended his career with a 324-292 Won Loss record. He was barely a 500 pitcher yet any right-minded GM or manager would do literally anything to have either Koufax or Ryan on their staff.

Sales is another endeavor wherein Failure is a necessary step to success. Every "No" you receive puts you one call closer to that magic Yes that pays the bills. Any sales course by the likes of Zig Zigler or Tony Robbins will pound that into your brain.

On occasion the Gods will manipulate things and you will succeed on your first try, but I suggest you do not expect that result all the time, you will likely be disappointed much more often than not. Have you ever seen a baby that learned to walk without falling?

If you are a fan of cooking, try examining the history of your favorite dish. You might just might find that dish is the result of a culinary accident like the chocolate chip cookie, beer, potato chips and Coke.

Clearly, success and failure are inextricably linked. Every time we learn from our efforts and our mistakes, we are succeeding - succeeding in getting closer to success. Failure is not the opposite of success, it is part of success.

 That's a quick tale on success and failure. See ya next week, same bat time, same bat channel.


  1. There is no dispute that success and failure are inextricably linked. I have taken the stand that success needs to be defined so that what can be success to one need not be to another. This is very effectively brought out by your own example of the baseball averages between batters and pitchers.

  2. "Failure is not the opposite of success, it is part of success." Indeed. Every successful person has come a cropper numerous times before they reach the desired goal. Job hunting is a case in point. Several jobs came my way only after I'd sent dozens of applications and remained optimistic that in the end I would land something. The book world is rife with examples of now-successful authors whose first book was rejected over and over by publishers - but they never gave up.