“I’ve missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost
300 games. 26 times I’ve been trusted to take the game winning
shot…and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my
life…and that is why I succeed.” Michael Jordan was one of the
greatest athletes of all time, but like all great people, he also
Jordan was one of the greatest athletes of all time.
Watching Michael Jordan play basketball was like watching a
man fly. His grace and talent were unmatched. Clearly he had a
lifetime of training and incredible natural talent, but these weren’t
the only things that made him great. He also had a healthy
relationship with failure. Like many greats in sports and business,
he wasn’t discouraged by failure. The shots he missed and the
games that he lost didn’t make him give up. He knew that failure
was just another chance for him to improve.
failure was just another chance for him to improve.
Many highly successful people in the world of sports and
business have this healthy relationship with failure.
relationship with failure.
One of the world’s most famous inventors, Thomas Edison made
thousands of attempts at creating a light bulb. He tried hundreds
of materials for the light bulb filament, but there was always a
problem. Some would burn out. Others would explode. Some
would melt the glass. There were always problems, but he never
gave up and he never saw his failure as a failure. He just saw it
as a step towards success.
Edison once said, “I have not failed. I have merely found 10,000
ways that won’t work.” This attitude of seeing failure as a learning
experience helped him persevere.
This way of thinking eventually led him to Japan, where he found
a kind of bamboo, which was the perfect material for his light bulb
filament in Japan.
It was also in the country of Japan, where a man named Soichiro
Honda also found success through failure. He failed over and
over on his way to becoming one of the world’s richest men.
Soichiro was born in 1906 in a small town in rural Japan.
Soichiro’s father was a blacksmith, but he also had a small
bicycle repair shop. Soichiro grew up helping his father fix
bicycles. He was always talented with fixing things, but he wasn’t
a good student, so his grade reports weren’t good.
During this time in Japan, parents were required to mark their
children’s grade reports with the family seal to confirm that they
had received them. Soichiro was a clever child. He realized that.
he could use rubber from the bicycle shop to fake his parents’
from the bicycle shop to fake his parents’ family seal.
He soon started making them for other children at his school as
well. Soichiro was caught, but this was one of the earliest
examples of how Soichiro would always look for opportunity in his
looked for opportunity in his failures.
After dropping out of school at the age of 15, Soichiro went to
Tokyo to become a mechanic. He worked in a car repair shop for
six years before returning to his hometown to open his own repair
shop. In addition to fixing cars, he was also a designer. He spent
years trying to design a better piston ring to sell to Toyota.
better piston ring.
He worked day and night on his design. He often had trouble
finding the money to continue his piston project. However, he
never let any of life’s challenges stop him. He always found a
way. Once he even sold his wife’s jewelry to make the money he
needed to continue his piston design. After two years of hard
work, finally his piston design was ready. He brought it to Toyota
thinking they would buy it and he would be a big success. To his
surprise, they rejected it.
They rejected it.
Soichiro still didn’t give up. He knew that he needed more
education, so he went back to school. At school, his classmates
and teachers laughed at his design, but this didn’t stop Soichiro
He studied hard in any course that would help him follow his
dream and he ignored the rest. He also refused to take tests
because he didn’t see any value in grades.
When the school told him he wouldn’t graduate, he didn’t care.
wasn’t worried about graduating. He didn’t care.