Fail First


In our society we often glorify the people who have a long list of accomplishments after their name. We look up to those who are wealthy, have power, and have achieved what we often times only dream of. Yet what we decline to see is the hard work, the sweat, the tears, the sleepless nights, and the countless failures that usually comes before and with that success. To illustrate, let us take a look at four well-known people who either failed at something or were rejected before they became successful.

First, is the life of Albert Einstein. Today, we know him as the genius physicist who came up with the theories of general and special relativity, among other things. However, because he could not speak until age four and could not read until age seven, his teachers and parents considered him “slow” and “mentally handicapped.” But Einstein later won the Nobel prize in physics.

Second, is the life of Thomas Edison. His teachers told him he was “too stupid to learn anything.” He failed 1,000 times before inventing the working light bulb. Despite this, he persevered and uttered these now famous words: “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”

Third, is the life of Walt Disney. He was fired by a newspaper editor because he “lacked imagination and had no good ideas.” Several of his other businesses failed, yet he went on to build up his own entertainment empire, become an animator, and win 26 Academy Awards. For millions of children and adults alike, the world would not be the same without his ideas.

Fourth, let us look at the life of J.K. Rowling. Before her tremendous success, she was poor, suffering from depression, unemployed, divorced, and her first novel was rejected by several publishers. Today her Harry Potter series has sold millions of copies worldwide and she was the first person to become a billionaire from writing.

Along with many others, it is obvious these people ‘failed’ before succeeding. However, they did not let failure define them or keep them down, Instead they used failure to push them onwards towards success. It is important that we do the same. The Bible states in Proverbs 24:16: “For a just man falleth seven times, and riseth up again: but the wicked shall fall into mischief.”

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