Michael Jordan teaches us that Dealing with failure is best done by seeing it as a learning experience.

Dealing with failure is part of getting to success.  No one exemplifies that better than Michael Jordan. Take a look how Hall of Famer Michael Jordan describes his secret to success:

"I’ve missed more than 9000 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


Michael Jordan's Life Is An Example Of Determination

If you have ever seen Michael Jordan play basketball, you know he is the persona of motivation. What a remarkable individual.

Because we can learn a lot from others, it is important to ask: "What can we learn from Michael Jordan?" Can we model him in a way to help us improve? The answer of course is yes.

Modeling other people's steps to success is a great technique to use to reach our dreams faster.

Let's begin with Michael's quote above. What stands out like a sore thumb is Michael's willingness to fail. Think how different that willingness is from the way the majority of people handle failure. Very few are willing to go to the extent Michael Jordan does.

I'm reminded of what Thomas Watson Jr. said when asked, "How can I succeed faster?" He answered, “If you want to increase your success rate, double your failure rate.”

That is what Michael Jordan has done. Well, actually, Michael was willing to do far more than just double his rate of failure. And as a result, he is considered by many to be the greatest player in history.

Considering all of the above, this has to be a major clue to success, doesn't it? And yet, think how people you know and perhaps yourself, feel about and talk about failure. It is something to run away from. Something a person does all they can do to avoid.

According to Michael Jordan and Thomas Watson Jr. that philosophy of avoidance is all wrong. It leads you in the wrong direction. Dealing with failure in the right way is the path to success. It really is that simple.

To reinforce this lesson on dealing with failure, consider Sarah Blakely, the founder and inventor of SPANX, an apparel company. This young women was featured on the cover of Forbes Magazine as the youngest self-made female billionaire. Her philosophy is similar to Michael Jordan's...thanks to her father.


Sara Blakely and her father's philosophy of parenting.
And how it helped her become a billionaire.

It's important to be willing to make mistakes. The worst thing that can happen is you become memorable.  - Sara Blakey

Sound familiar? Michael Jordan is willing to make mistakes. So is Sara Blakely. I thought learning a little about Sara will help imprint this lesson into your subconscious.

When Sara Blakely was young, she and her brother would be at the dinner table and their father would ask them, "What have you failed at?" Yes, you read that right. He did not ask what they had accomplished. No. He asked what they had failed at. And Sara says that if they had failed at nothing their father would be disappointed. Wow.

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Take a moment and think of the consequence of that parenting philosophy. Did it destroy their confidence? No. It taught them that when dealing with failure do not take the common approach. For Sarah, it taught her that failure is not bad, it is Not Trying that is bad. If you listen to the top people in self-development, you will see they consider failure nothing more than a chance to learn a lesson. It's just another way to learn what not to do.

When you read the whole story of Sarah Blakely, you will see a lot of barriers were in her way, keeping her from her goal. She did not give up. She keep at it. Each step was not a failure, just an obstacle to work around or through. And just as Michael Jordan did not give up when he missed the shot to win an important game, Sarah did not give up. She kept going.

There is a lot more to the winding road that lead to the success of Spanx. But one thing for sure, dealing with failure was not easy. It never is. But, like Sara, you must see failure as a learning experience and nothing more.

I can't help but imagine what the world would be like in the future if a majority of parents decided to use the "What did you fail at this week?" method of teaching children how to deal with failure. I have a feeling a lot more would be accomplished.



Michael Jordan and Sara Blakely's philosophy on dealing with failure can work for you too.


So take a moment now and think about your primary goal and the path you've taken. How are you dealing with any failure you have encountered? If necessary, are you willing to take double your failure rate to reach success? It's seldom, if ever,  you will have a straight path to an important goal. There will be detours, obstacles, and barriers.

So, how bad do you want to reach your goal knowing there will be a lot of hard work? You have to really want it. Otherwise you will quit. Isn't that what a sane person would do? But, if you really want that goal, that dream of yours, you have to take the shot over and over and over again...even if you miss.

Now consider this - What will it be like when you succeed? What will you get for all your hard work and determination? And even more important, what kind of person will you have become in pursuit of your dream? I know it is possible to achieve your goal. How do I know? I know because more than likely you picked a goal that one, or more than likely, many people have already accomplished. And if they did it, you can too.

Keep this in mind as well: you now know about this website and the many tools onsite to help you reach the other side. Whether it's the 5 Second Rule, The Slight Edge Philosophy, or one of the other techniques and strategies from the Motivational Toolbox, you now have tools to help you succeed. But it is important to keep in mind that even with the tools your attitude about dealing with failure is key.


Michael Jordan's Wisdom On Dealing With Failure

The following video has a lot of lessons and principles to grow by. One that really resonated with me was when Michael was asked what his biggest failure was. He said, "I haven't had any disappointments." How could he say that? He followed with, "Sports teaches you good things and bad things. It's how you perceive those things. I've taken every experience I have had, negative and positive, and taken it as a positive. I wouldn't change anything."

How about you? How are you evaluating your experiences, both the negative and the positive. Are you seeing failure as a learning experience? Dealing with failure the right way brings success, and the wrong way...brings the failure you are fighting against.

Enjoy the video.


Eliminate Dealing With Fear

Finally, how would you like to eliminate fear? Michael gives a great clue in an interview he gave years ago. He was asked if he practiced so hard because of fear of failure. He said no, that wasn't it. His answer for dealing with fear was very simple: He said, "Work ethic eliminates fear." Just four words.

So when dealing with failure, change your work ethic. In so doing you will eliminate your fear of failure. Do you have doubts? Give it a try. What do you have to lose? And just as important, look at all you might gain.

You might like these

To see the speech Michael Jordan gave at his enshrinement into the Hall of Fame, click here.

To go to the top of this page about Michael Jordan's willingness to fail, click here.

Check out Failure as Opportunity.

Go to the Article Index.

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