Embracing Failure to Find Success

Adrian S. Potter
2 min readFeb 27, 2019

Losing to Win Like Michael Jordan (The Secondhand Inspiration Project)

Photo by Estée Janssens on Unsplash

The Secondhand Inspiration Project begins with a motivational quote and ventures wherever the creative path meanders.

“I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. Twenty-six 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

Failure is something you accomplish; it doesn’t just happen to you.

Ask people why they’ve thrived, and their answers will be littered with boasts and personal pronouns: I, me, and maybe an occasional we. But ask why they failed, and most retreat to childhood and distance themselves from their screw-ups. They’ll claim it was due to someone or something else that was completely out of their control. They’ll spin it so they’re the victim. The economy tanked. The world wasn’t ready for my creative vision. Wrong time, wrong place.

By distancing themselves, they don’t learn from their letdowns.

People focus so much on winning that they forget failing is part of growth. It seems counterintuitive, but it’s true. Anyone who has achieved greatness, anyone who has transformed the world has, at some point, decided to accept disappointment instead of hopelessly fighting against it.

For icons and innovators, failure is merely feedback — a way to learn what’s not working so they can discover what will work. They shake off losses as part of the journey to eventually arrive at the doorstep of victory. It’s essential. It can’t be avoided or ignored.

Yes, occasionally something completely outside your control will trigger you to miss the target. But most of the time, if you’re being honest, it’s you. And that’s okay. Every successful person has nosedived. Numerous times. Many have flopped more often than you. But they didn’t give up. That’s why they’re triumphant now.

Own every failure. Do intel, take notes, learn, and then take responsibility for those missteps. Evolve and make sure the next time that things turn out differently. Embrace failure with open arms in order to attain the greatness you were meant to achieve.

Adrian S. Potter

Antisocial Extrovert · Writer and Poet, Engineer, Consultant, Public Speaker · Writing about self-improvement, gratitude, and creativity · www.adrianspotter.com