Famous Failures

Breakthru Fitness Yoga Crow

My amazing students surprising themselves in crow pose! (A couple doing it for the first time!)

There is no such thing as failing in yoga.  We may need to take breaks sometimes, we may wobble or lose our balance, we may shake or struggle in a pose, we may modify or completely skip a pose, or we may even literally fall (or roll over) in some cases.  But we NEVER fail.  That is the beauty of yoga.  Yoga is learning to detach ourselves from outcomes, or how much you did or did not do, and instead appreciate the whole process of just doing.  Some days you can do only 10%, other days you can do 100%.  It does not matter.  As long as you tried your best, you have succeeded.  And the best part is that your yoga practice (and your mat) will always welcome you back to try again.

In other areas of our life, it may not be so forgiving and you may actually face very clear barriers that seem to be stopping you from pursuing your goals.   Does that mean you have failed?  Or does it mean you just need to keep on trying?  Here are some stories of failures from some pretty incredible famous people that I hope will inspire you:

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Famous Failures

* Steve Jobs

Growing up in Cupertino, I’ve watched Apple grow from a rainbow colored apple logo on my dad’s Apple II computer, to a leader of the sleekest products everywhere I look.  Who knew that Steve Jobs, who co-founded the company at age 21, ended up getting fired from his own company 9 years later?  Of course, we all know he eventually returned to Apple and made it into the company it is today!

I’m pretty sure none of this would have happened if I hadn’t been fired from Apple. It was awful tasting medicine, but I guess the patient needed it. Sometimes life hits you in the head with a brick. Don’t lose faith. I’m convinced the only thing that kept me going was that I loved what I did. You’ve got to find what you love.”

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* Oprah Winfrey

Who doesn’t love Oprah?  You don’t even have to say her last name, and everyone knows who she is.  After having a successful talk show on TV for 21 years, Oprah decided to start something new, the Oprah Winfrey Network, which ended up being a huge disappointment.  Oprah had to deal with that embarrassment and figure out how to improve the network.

“It doesn’t matter how far you might rise. At some point, you are bound to stumble. If you’re constantly pushing yourself higher and higher, the law of averages predicts that you will at some point fall. And when you do, I want you to remember this: There is no such thing as failure. Failure is just life trying to move us in another direction. Now, when you’re down there in the hole, it looks like failure. When that moment comes, it’s okay to feel bad for a little while. Give yourself time to mourn what you think you may have lost. But then, here’s the key: Learn from every mistake, because every experience, particularly your mistakes, are there to teach you and force you into being more who you are.”

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* Michael Jordan

No one can argue that Michael Jordan is a legend in basketball.  He was absolutely brilliant at what he did.  But he was human, and just like everyone else, he had his stumbles.  I love the words from this famous Nike commercial, where Michael Jordan shares what failing, and thus, succeeding really means.

“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.”

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* JK Rowling

I followed the Harry Potter books so closely, that I had to buy the last book the day it came out.  Lucky me, I happened to be backpacking in Rome at the time, and honestly, there wasn’t much room in a backpack for a 784-page hardcover book, but it was worth it!  It is hard to believe that this imaginative and creative author had suffered from depression and was living in poverty before the Harry Potter craze!

“So why do I talk about the benefits of failure? Simply because failure meant a stripping away of the inessential. I stopped pretending to myself that I was anything other than what I was, and began to direct all my energy into finishing the only work that mattered to me. Had I really succeeded at anything else, I might never have found the determination to succeed in the one arena I believed I truly belonged. I was set free, because my greatest fear had been realized, and I was still alive, and I still had a daughter whom I adored, and I had an old typewriter and a big idea. And so rock bottom became the solid foundation on which I rebuilt my life.”

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* Walt Disney

The happiest place on Earth became possible only because Walt Disney believed in his visions and was willing to overcome a lot of obstacles to create it.  He faced a lot of setbacks, from getting fired to becoming bankrupt to people rejecting his ideas, including Mickey Mouse.  Somehow he just kept trying and his dreams eventually came true!

“It is good to have a failure while you are young because it teaches you so much.  For one thing it makes you aware that such a thing can happen to anybody, and once you’ve lived through the worst, you’re never quite as vulnerable afterwards.”

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What are your goals?  What are your unfulfilled dreams?  What are you trying to achieve next?  I hope reading the experiences above can encourage you to continue reaching for your dreams, no matter how far it may seem and how difficult the process of getting there may be.  Keep believing and keep trying, and you will get there!!!

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