Here is an excerpt I found that John Maxwell wrote about failure

Failing Forward
by Dr. John C. Maxwell

Vincent Van Gogh failed as an art dealer, flunked his entrance exam to theology school, and was fired by the church after an ill-fated attempt at missionary work. In fact, during his life, he seldom experienced anything other than failure as an artist. Although a single painting by Van Gogh would fetch in excess of $100 million today, in his lifetime Van Gogh sold only one painting, four months prior to his death.

Before developing his theory of relativity, Albert Einstein encountered academic failure. One headmaster expelled Einstein from school and another teacher predicted that he would never amount to anything. Einstein even failed his entrance exam into college.

Prior to dazzling the world with his athletic skill, Michael Jordan was cut from his sophomore basketball team. Even though he captured six championships, during his professional career, Jordan missed over 12,000 shots, lost nearly 400 games, and failed to make more than 25 would-be game-winning baskets.

Failure didn’t stop Vincent Van Gogh from painting, Albert Einstein from theorizing, or Michael Jordan from playing basketball, but it has paralyzed countless leaders and prevented them from reaching their potential.


No one remembers any of these people for their failures.  Their legacies were defined by their successes because of their failures. 

Why are we so afraid that people are going to remember our failures? 

I didn’t know most of these facts until I read them in the article Maxwell wrote.  We as a culture have shied away from failure and even when we teach kids in school we don’t teach them about all the failures some of these people had.  We love to glorify everything and make it sound better.  But success does not come as easy as everyone makes it sound in the books.  Success comes from learning from failures.

    Don’t let failure stop you from moving on.  Look back and learn from it, that is what failing forward is all about.