Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Is Your Downpayment Due?

"If God had intended that man should fly, he would have given him wings"
GEORGE MELVILLE, Chief Engineer, U.S. Navy, 1900

According to Wikipedia, a "Downpayment" is a term used in the context of purchasing expensive items such as a car or a house. Payment is made upfront on a portion of the total amount due - usually in cash - before monthly installments kick in that will take care of finalizing the entire transaction.

The acquisition of "success" works much the same way.

And the price for any success you might enjoy always includes a downpayment called "Failure".

In other words, if you are serious about success in any endeavour, you have to know going in, that passion, hard work and dedication won't be enough. You will have to make "failure" as part of the downpayment, without ever knowing for certain what the final outcome will be.

If it's a guarantee you are looking for, go buy a toaster.

But, anyone who invests any amount of time to study the common pattern shared by uncommonly successful people will notice "failure" as one of its most common denominators.

Over the last several weeks, a friend of mine who is starting a new business, has had to make some hefty downpayments. Only a couple of days away from launching a major project, this new entrepreneur was forced to fire their first employee; has been scrambling like mad to find a replacement and is up to you know where in dealing with unwelcome surprises like cost overruns and inventory issues. Despite sleepless nights and the gnawing of constant worry, this new business owner recognizes these setbacks are a necessary part of the process and is determined to move forward.

Though not a sports fan, this owner is grasping the wisdom shared by one of the greats in any game.

"I have missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I have lost almost 300 games. On 26 occasions I have been entrusted to take the game winning shot, and I missed. I have failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed"

For the most part, failure has gotten a bad rap.

Typically it's viewed as a negative.

But, failure is where you will start to learn.

When viewed as a positive, failure is a necessary steppingstone to success.

So, it's really nothing to be afraid of.

However, the prospect of failures and making mistakes too often make people scared shitless when it comes to taking risks of any sort.

Failure also wears many labels.

You can call them false starts or stumbling blocks; detours or dead ends, but none of these are permanent conditions to those who have learned to overcome failure.

The Wright brothers built seven "flying machines" and crashed each of them more than once before a successful launch at Kitty Hawk in 1903.

The first time Jerry Seinfeld walked on stage, he stared out at the comedy club audience, froze and was booed off the stage. But he came back the next night, nailed his performance and the rest is yada-yada-yada.

J.K. Rowling was broke, divorced, dependant on welfare and trying to raise a child on her own while attending school and writing a novel. Within a five year period she became one of the richest women in the world thanks to "Harry Potter".

Cynics and skeptics will say, "Those rags to riches stories only happen to the rich and famous". "Nothing like that ever happens to ordinary, everyday people".

And that's what makes the story of Mama Moon so fascinating.

Failure, like nearly everything in life, is relative.

In my experience, every failure or setback merely presents an opportunity to improve and eventually succeed.

How can you take the most traumatic, terrible thing that has ever happened to you and use it as a downpayment on your eventual road to success?

No doubt, you have endured hard times along the way.

But, what if you looked at those hard times as nothing more than a downpayment?

A downpayment that always comes due.

"If we all worked on the assumption that what is accepted as true is really true, there would be little hope of advance"

Would you like Gair to re-energize, re-focus or re-inspire your organization or event? Details on his keynotes and speaking programs can be discovered at http://www.gairmaxwell.com/ His book, "NUTS, BOLTS AND A FEW LOOSE SCREWS" is also waiting patiently for you at Chapters.ca and Amazon.com.

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1 comment:

ANK said...

You nailed this one! Too much poor me and entitlement thinking... This is very powerful Gair! THanks!