Who twice lost a bid for the United States Senate

A New View of Failure and Success

Welcome to the GPS 200 Module 6 presentation on “A New View of Failure and Success.”

Take a guess… Who am I?

· A one-term Congressman

· A failed businessman

· Who twice lost a bid for the United States Senate

We’ll come back to “Who am I?” later, but for now, would you like to be successful throughout the remainder of your life?

Would you like to enjoy meaningful success where you learn, grow, and contribute in significant ways where your life is full, counts for something, and makes a difference?

If your answer is “yes,” then think for a minute about what it will take to achieve success.


What will it take?

Think for a moment… jot down what comes to mind…

What came to mind? I bet one or more of the things listed here, plus some others, came to mind:

· Hard work

· Education

· Desire

· Focus

· Perseverance

· Family support

· Employer support

· Passion

There’s some more, perhaps…

· Talent

· Intelligence

· Financial resources

· Sense of humor

· Location

· Internal compass

· Strong network

These are all great ideas, but something very important is missing. What is absolutely essential for success that has not been mentioned yet?

According to University of Massachusetts professor and author Dr. Charles Manz, if you want to succeed, then you must fail.

There is no exception to this rule. Significant success requires failure, but failure must be regarded in a whole new light.

A paradigm shift is needed.

According to Dr. Manz, “Failure is one of the most dreaded words in the English language. The very idea of failing is enough to stop most people in their tracks.”

“Success, on the other hand, is nearly a magical idea for many people.”

According to Manz, although most people hate to be labeled a failure and love to be labeled a success, it is only through seeming failure that most of life’s greatest successes are achieved. Often, “failure” or “success” is almost entirely in the eye of the beholder.

In 1844 Hans Christian Anderson penned, “The Ugly Duckling.” As you may recall, it’s the poignant story of a swan born into a duck’s family. Here’s a quick video of the story!

The Ugly Duckling

A little duckling was very sad, because he thought he was the ugliest amongst all his brothers and sisters. They would not play with him and teased the poor ugly duckling. One day he saw his reflection in the water and cried, “Nobody likes me. I am so ugly.” He decided to leave home and went far away into the woods. Deep in the forest, he saw a cottage, in which there lived an old woman, her hen, and her cat. The duckling stayed with them for some time, but he was unhappy there and soon left. When winter set in, the poor duckling almost froze to death. A peasant took him home to his wife and children. The poor duckling was terrified of the children and escaped. The ugly duckling spent the winter in a marshy pond. Finally, spring arrived. One day the duckling saw a beautiful swan swimming in the pond and fell in love with her. But then he remembered how everyone made fun of him and he bent his head down in shame. When he saw his own reflection in the water, he was astonished! He was not an ugly duckling anymore but a handsome young swan! Now, he knew why he looked so different from his brothers and sisters. “They were ducklings but I was a baby swan”, he said to himself. He married the beautiful swan and lived happily ever after!!

The End

The story of the Ugly Duckling may reflect an essential truth about what we call “failure.” It is very often a misperception about the difference between what exists and goes unnoticed, (such as growth and learning when we fall short of reaching a goal) and what is realized later (longer-term success).”

A paradigm shift is needed. Consider:

· Changing our perspective is often the key to finding success in seeming failure.

· We need a paradigm shift to learn to discover problems as opportunities.

Let’s talk a little about living a full life.

According to Dr. Manz, we can live more fully if we can see that:

· Challenges are disguised opportunities

· Differences are a gift

· Mistakes are learning opportunities

When we try our best and are willing to learn, we always succeed, even if we don’t achieve the results we hoped for.

Let’s consider a new view of failure by some redefinitions and new perspectives.

Redefining failure: “Failure is a natural part of live that can impact us positively or negatively depending on how we define it.” Like self-efficacy and our reactions to stressful situations, which are based on perceptions, our view of failure is based on our perceptions.

Redefining success: “The more important measure of success is based on our own deeper knowing of what’s right for us rather than approval or disapproval from others.” We set the bar for ourselves.

Learning from failure: “Failure presents an opportunity for continued learning and growth while success can lead to complacency and stagnation.” The old paradigm regarding success says, “I’ve arrived so I can coast now.”

Viewing failures as stepping-stones to success: “Success and failure are not incompatible—most failures are simply challenges in progress that can provide foundation for success.” Nikola Tesla failed over and over before enjoying success.

Continuing the theme of a new view on failure…

Finding the opportunities of failure: “Setbacks or short-term failures can contribute to future success if we focus on the opportunities they contain rather than the obstacles.”

Using negative feedback to your advantage: “Current negative feedback can provide positive information for improvement or may even suggest that you are onto something new and different—a sign of pending breakthrough success.”

Looking beyond yourself: “As you learn to focus outward, on helping others succeed rather than yourself, you become less vulnerable to what otherwise might appear to be personal failures.”

And lastly, persistence: Keep on trying. “Sustained Effort + the Lessons of Failure is a powerful formula for success.”

Dr. Manz offers prescriptions for a more productive, prosperous, and peaceful life. He provides strategies for harnessing the power of failure. He begins by taking a closer look at the new definitions of failure and success. Let’s compare and contrast old and new definitions.

Old definition of failure: A negative, fatal, and final result indicating (1) an inability to perform and a lack of success, (2) a falling short because of ineptness, deficiency, or negligence, (3) a bad, bad thing that should be avoided, mourned, and punished.

New definition of failure: A short-term unexpected result that reflects a challenge in progress and that provides (1) a stepping-stone to success, (2) an opportunity for learning and development, (3) an opportunity for creative change and innovation.

Old definition of success: A revered shrine of achievement. An all-positive final result indicating (1) superior ability that requires no further learning and change, (2) performance that is devoid of flaws, weakness, or failure, (3) a good, good thing that should be sought, celebrated, and honored above all else.

New definition of success: A way of living founded on benefiting from all life has to offer that is (1) a long-term sequence of life-improving results, (2) an outcome of short-term setbacks and failures, (3) a process of continual development, learning, and fulfillment in life.

OK, back to “Who Am I?”

As a reminder, a one-term Congressman, a failed businessman, and twice lost a bid for the United States Senate?

The answer to the question at the beginning of the presentation… You probably guessed it… Abraham Lincoln!

Thank you for your time and attention to this presentation.

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