A few years ago, when Charlie Sheen was in the news for various shenanigans, many of his quotes on “winning” were circulating around. They were funny to hear and read, and nobody took them seriously. But there is another quote from the same actor, one that needs to have a closer look. The actor said, “As kids we’re not taught how to deal with success; we’re taught how to deal with failure. If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. If at first you succeed, then what?” It’s a provocative thought that deserves some thought.
We all want to succeed, after all nobody likes to fail. But life does not always work out the way we want it to. We can make plans, analyze and take calculated risks, but in the end, there are often pitfalls that will get in the way. So we revamp our plan, we tweak our approach, and we try again. Every time we fail it only means that we have another chance to succeed. Failing gives us the lessons that we need in order to keep on our journey to success. We understand how to weather the hardships, so we can better enjoy the good times.
Success after multiple failures is the reward for a lot of hard work. Something to be enjoyed. However, when success comes without the failure, what happens is exactly what we see with a lot of celebrities. There are some that worked hard to get where they are, however, there are many others that had their fame (and subsequently fortune) thrust upon them. Those who rose suddenly without experiencing the failure often fall hard. They become laughing stocks, and don’t know how to manage their success.
Success is great. It feels very good to work hard at something and reap the rewards of your hard work. But without failing we end up struggling even more. And while it is easy to point out the downfalls of celebrities, it happens every day all around us. For instance how many of us make big plans for our tax refunds? We understand that we should save some, invest some, pay off some debts, and spend just a little. However, when that refund does come in, we suddenly “need” a plethora of items for the house, and we end up spending far more than we originally planned. It is because this success came without hard work (technically it did, however, it feels as though it did not). When the money trickles in after long hard hours at work, more of it is used wisely.
Too much failure is not a good thing. Too much success is not a good thing. There needs to be a good balance between failures that help us learn, and success as a reward for our hard work. Charlie Sheen may seem to be out of touch with reality. He may make silly comments about how he has tiger blood in his veins. But this quote gives us a great insight into the mind of those who succeeded without failing. They are lost and struggling much more than those of us who go through multiple failures in order to finally succeed.
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