Picking up the Pieces

“It’s fine to celebrate success but it is more important to heed the lessons of failure.”

Bill Gates

“My great concern is not whether you have failed, but whether you are content with your failure.”

Abraham Lincoln

In life, failure is inevitable. (And if you don’t think so you haven’t experienced it yet.) But not all failure is fatal. In fact, the only failure that you can’t build yourself back from is death. Death is pretty fatal.

Let me ask you a question:

At what moment do we fail?

Is it when we lose the game? Is it when we made a bad decision and end up running our company into the ground? Is it when our ego ruins our opportunity? Is it when we let others down? Is it when we become someone we dislike? Is it when we manipulate and drive everyone away? Is there a line we can cross that’s unredeemable?

We certainly fail when we give up—while knowing we should keep going.

There are many mistakes we can make that aren’t recoverable. When you and your former partner are dragged through the mud of anger and divorce, recovering is unlikely. When you ruin your reputation by lying, or being flaky or saying something overwhelmingly offensive, it’s going to take a lot of convincing to get back to square one. When you dig yourself into debt the size of a Mars crater, it’s going to be a lot of hard work to get back to zero. But even so, we’re still alive. We are still breathing. The show must go on!

When our failure burns out and leaves ashes in its wake, we still have the chance to rise up, pieces together our life and change into something better than we were. (And make it a part of our story and a lesson to share with others.)

But not if we give up. Not if we give in to despair forever. Not if we drown our sorrows in ice cream and beer. Numbing the pain and failure doesn’t take away the pain and failure.

Failing and being unable to recover doesn’t mean that it’s over for us. It just means that the unbalanced, and unstable life we were living is officially over. Now we have to find a new one—a better way of living. A life that makes us better and helps make others better too.

There’s always away forward.

Picking up the pieces is far from fun. But it does give us something. Something to do with our hands. A past life to let go of. A way forward towards something new. And as scary as new can be, it can also be exciting and lead us to unexpected places.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #924

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Defining Success & Failure

We are often told to define what success looks like to us.

I think this is an important habit to cultivate. Otherwise, you’ll end up never satisfied with where you are. Undefined success doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll like where and what type of success you end up at.

Defining Success is an essential part to actually achieving success in the first place.

However, no one tells us to define what failure looks like to us.

Failure is just as important as success, because failure determines our ability to achieve.

Our relationship with failure determines our success

Failure — in some fashion — is inevitable (unfortunately), so if we are bad at failing, then we’ll be hardpressed to keep going and stay consistent.

Of course failure is far from easy. I know all too well the feelings failure can leave behind in it’s wake. A rock in your stomach. Cold shivers streaking across your back, like claw marks. The feeling of worthlessness

Failure isn’t fun (understatement of a lifetime), but we can have a healthy relationship with it by defining what it means to us.

Healthy success is success aligned with what we cherish and find meaningful.

Healthy failure is seeing failure as a temporary setback, rather than an endstate.

Failure only stops us when we let it control our next actions. (inaction, hesitation, or playing it safe)

We can overcome failure by learning, pressing forward, and changing tactics.

See it as a necessary step on your way towards your own version of success.

Failure loses its weight when it’s just another todo we have to check off.

#KeepPursuing — Josh Waggoner

‘Brevity is the soul of wit.’  Email me your thoughts on this post. Can you reduce the essential idea further?

related wisdom

“Failure is the key to success; each mistake teaches us something.” — Morihei Ueshiba


“It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all, in which case you have failed by default.” — J. K. Rowling


“The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson


“Failures, repeated failures, are finger posts on the road to achievement. One fails forward toward success.” — C. S. Lewis

How to Succeed (..Eventually)

The first time we try — we could get lucky —

but we’ll probably fail.

The second time we’ll probably fail again. — We’ve gone further than most do.

Failure is not an end state, it’s a stepping stone to success +

Failing isn’t fun. doesn’t feel good.

But it’s how we learn. It’s how we get better.

‘It’s a rite of passage.” Failure shows us what works and what doesn’t and — believe it or not — it’s how we succeed. Maybe not today, but eventually. Soon.

Persistence is what leads us to ‘success‘ —

whatever that means to you — and separates us from those who haven’t yet.

And if we keep going, even in failure after failure, we will make it happen.

we will become what we’ve always wanted to be.

Action Step Persist. Keep at it. Make it happen

Add more of what’s working, Remove what’s not.

Mantra — Failure is a stepping stone. I can succeed with persistence.


— Josh Waggoner

‘Brevity is the soul of wit.’  Email me your thoughts on this post. Can you reduce the essential idea further?

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related wisdom

“Success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm.” — Winston Churchill

“Failure isn’t a badge of shame. It is a rite of passage.” — Tony Hseih, Zappos

Bandwagon Blues

When we fall off the bandwagon, the easiest thing for us to do is jump right back on.

No muss no fuss gus.

Just pick yourself up, and keeping going. 

Failure is an essential ingredient of success.

If someone doesn’t talk about their failures, it just means they’re keeping them to themselves.

Everyone in the universe falls off the bandwagon  — it doesn’t mean your life is over — it means you’re ALIVE.

When we continuing despite setbacks — we’re not really failing at all really.

We’re growing. We’re persevering. We’re taking feedback. We’re being stubborn (not today failure, not today.)

And that means,

 we are living fully.


#KeepPursuing — Josh Waggoner

‘Brevity is the soul of wit.’  Email me (josh@renaissancemanlife.com) your thoughts on this post. Can you reduce the essential idea further?

related wisdom:

“Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.” — Winston Churchill


“Every adversity, every failure, every heartache carries with it the seed of an equal or greater benefit.” — Napoleon Hill


“The season of failure is the best time for sowing the seeds of success.” — Paramahansa Yogananda


“I can accept failure, everyone fails at something. But I can’t accept not trying.” — Michael Jordan