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Category: Monticello College Comments: 2

Success vs Failure

failureIn our current culture failure means: lack of success; an unsuccessful person, enterprise, or thing.
But that is a narrow and incomplete definition.
If you look further, you will find a more complete definition: a lack or deficiency of desired quality; the action or state of not functioning; a sudden cessation of power.
What this demonstrates is that failure is not something that happens to you, but something you choose.
Failure is really just us quitting.
Failure quotes (13)EPIPHANY!! As long as we never quit, we never fail.
Let me say it differently. There are two types of success; gestational success and actual success.
Actual success is defined as: the accomplishment of an aim or purpose, the outcome of an undertaking specified as achieving its aim.
So Success means that you have achieved 100% or more of your desired aim or outcome. Gestational Success simply means that you have not yet fully achieved your desired aim or outcome, but are on the path to doing so. Success is not instantaneous. There is a lag time or gestation period between desire, action, and outcome.
On our campus farm, we often have a goal to hatch out chicks. We take action to setup the incubator, wherein we place the fertilized eggs. Then when we return the next morning and there are no chicks—we have no choice, we must concede failure…right?
Of course, not! Because we understand that there is a gestation period, we know that it is a work in progress and that it will take 21 days for the process to complete. So if we are not failing during the 21-day process, what are we doing? We are participating in gestational success!! Even though we can’t see it, there is plenty happening inside the egg, or the seed in the ground, or the mind of the infant, etc.
WebFailure then is not something that can happen to us, it is not a phenomenon that is out of our control—it is a choice…pure and simple.
Gestational Success is continued effort until the completion or end of the gestational period.
When dealing with the hatching of chickens or the breeding of any farm animal, long experience has taught us what to expect or has informed our expectations, so we are resolved to maintain our vigilance for the duration of the perceived gestation period.
But what if we are creating something new and are not sure of the gestation period or all of the proper steps to take during the gestation process? This is where preparation is vital. Even though the process may be new to us, it is not new to everyone. Chances are, someone has already done all of the hard work to figure out the gestational period and process. All we have to do is find them and replicate what they have done—and never give up.
090912-chick-chicagoWhen we are hatching chicks, we don’t get creative and try to change the gestation period or process.
In a similar manner, we trust those who have gone before us in areas where we have little first hand knowledge.
Our expectations are created based on their “fruits”and we follow their example to the “T” anticipating the same results.
We have full confidence that what they have done–we can do. We clearly see that Gestational Success precedes Actual Success and we never concede to failure, because we never give up.
Not all of our eggs always hatch…so do we then consider our efforts a failure? Of course not, even if only 5 out of 10 eggs hatch (which almost never happens), we still have 5 chicks that will grow up to lay eggs from which we can try again. As long as we never quit, we never fail.
successThe dictionary and real life definition of failure is to enter a state of not functioning or a cessation of power.
Only death can force us to not function or to cease exerting power. Let’s be honest, any other situation where we enter a state of not functioning or a cessation of power is nothing more than us quitting.
Bottom Line: we are either quitters or we are doers, and it has nothing to do with anyone else.
Bottom Line: I am either a quitter or I am a doer, and it has nothing to do with anyone else.

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Comments (2)

  • DN

    Thank You Dr. Brooks. It is always a great reminder.

    April 27, 2016 at 9:33 pm
  • Kate Thomas

    Yes! Spot on. Brene Brown, researcher of shame for 15? years and more recently of the trait resiliency started me 2.5 years ago on the path to this here truth you summarized, Dr. Brooks. She highlighted this quote in one of her books that your writing here reminds me of:
    “It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”
    – Theodore Roosevelt
    April 23, 1910
    known as “The Man in the Arena” quote from his speech “Citizenship in the Republic”delivered in Paris.

    April 27, 2016 at 10:06 pm

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