Here's the transcript in English.
How Perception of Failure Affects Success
Anyone can make mistakes or fail sometimes, right? The history of Mankind is often based on misguided perceptions, unknown perspectives and wrong assumptions. Think about it:
· There was a time in business when people, most people, strongly believed that you would never ever find a job if you had failed at school. Worse, you'd be called stupid forever;
· There was a time in movies, literature and science fiction, when the Hero would only have one flaw. It would make him or her vulnerable, human-like. He would have been perfect without this bad damn thing;
· There was a time in life when the brightest minds on the planet strongly believed that the Earth was flat. And they believed it so hard they were ready to kill for that idea which turned out to be wrong.
Successful people, they go through these experience and perceptions too. Except that they can take advantage of what happens to them, the unfortunate events and the bad stuff. They turn them into gold to innovate and build their own success. Let me give you a few examples:
· In business:
o Think about Richard Branson, founder of the Virgin Brand: in the early 1970s, the man was selling cut-price record by mail order. Imagine his reaction when one of the biggest national postal strikes happened in the UK. Most businesses could've fallen overnight, right? Not Sir Branson's: the British entrepreneur went on and looked up for a store to open. And so the story about the whole Virgin Megastores began.
o Remember Steve Jobs, fired from the company he started, Apple, when he was 30: a lot of people said the man started a 12-year walk in the desert. Steve Jobs explained he started one of the most creative part of his life: he created Pixar, the worldwide animation movie studios. I'm sure you know about if you have kids. And he went on to found NeXT, a computer company Apple bought 12 years later. Jobs came back to Apple, with the success we all know he's had until he passed away.
· In movies, and science-fiction:
o Remember Neo, the Hero of The Matrix trilogy: he first fails at believing he's The One. And when he's asked to jump from one building to another as an exercise to open his mind, he smashes to the floor and crashes to the ground;
o Remember Bruce Wayne, the Batman: he often fails at believe he can succeed in his mission to inspire and save the people of Gotham city.
· In life, there are plenty of people out there wasting their time mourning over their failures and past mistakes, while others, no smarter than you and I, no biologically different, get up every morning to perform better than they did the previous day, change the world and succeed.
Today, I want to talk to you about these people. They all share one thing: they are the main character in their own stories. This is the definition of a Hero: business Heroes, movie Heroes, every day Heroes. They all get up to change the world, their own world, and to go beyond their failures to succeed. How do they do that?
Well, as you may know, I studied in criminology, and I did put a lot of sociology in my course of study. I loved it. For about 5 years, I learnt to observe the attitude of a person within a group of people, and understand the motives that lead somebody to step out of line. Criminology focuses on the bad reasons and the bad people who cross limits.
For about 10 years in business now, I chose to focus, not on the bad stuff, but on the good reasons, the great purpose and the top-notch results anybody when he becomes outstanding and amazing. What I understood is that, in both cases, either bad or good, the frameworks, patterns and process are almost the same. And I realized over the years that it is almost the same with the perception of failure:
· It can lead you to believe terrible things about yourself and about others
· Or it can lead you to excel and reach insanely great success
2 Kinds of Perceptions about Failure
Let's start with people who think failure is bad and negative.
· For them, failure is Absolute. It's a general tendency in their behavior. If they "suck" at something, it is very likely that they will believe they will suck at everything. It's the "I'm a looser" kind of thought.
· Failure makes them feel Lame about themselves. They are ashamed about it. And they are beyond doubt about themselves: they are almost sure that they not that good and capable of doing anything great.
· Failure for them is Universal: not to stand alone in their misery, they tend to perceive the whole world as bad and at agony. It is filled with bad people and only the smartest or strongest will survive.
· In this mindset, failure is Relentless. It's inevitable, it will happen to anyone (especially them), and there are absolutely no ways to escape it.
· Therefore, failure is something you just can't learn from. You can't grow from it. It becomes Irrelevant. It is just something you should hide from and hide in your resume.
· This whole belief leads them to Fear. They try to avoid failure at any cost, even at the cost of not living the great adventure of life. It means that if they were still kids, they would not go on the bike to learn and ride it for fear of falling down.
· As grownups, ladies and gentlemen, failure is their ultimate Excuse. Failure is what they use for not trying. They would rather not know what they could achieve than try and dare to fail.
This is what failure means to those people. And I know a lot about it because I believed it was like that for years. I believed it when I had my first car accident (nobody injured). I believed it when I failed my first year at University. And I believed it every time I've been rejected by women, and trust me, I've been dumped a lot. People who think that way are partly right. It's just that you will never ever count them in the club of very successful people.
The successful people, they also have to deal with failure. Except that they see things differently. Failure for them is part of the trip.
· First of all, to them, failure is Relative. It regards a particular thing at a particular time. It does not imply they are entirely bad persons. As Brazilian writer Paulo Coelho says: "Nothing is completely wrong. Even a broken clock is right twice a day."
· Failure is also Intimate. It concerns them and them only. They don't try to blame others for their own mistakes. They don’t deny failure, they don't deny their responsibility. They don't deny their fear. They use it, and go beyond it to succeed.
· Failure, that way, becomes Adjustable. It means that if they screw up once, it won't necessarily be the case on their next move. And so they can use today's failure to build tomorrow's success.
· This is what it is for successful people: failure is a very powerful Learning tool. Harvard Professor Tal Ben-Shahar says it: "if you don't learn to fail, you fail to learn." A child learns to walk by falling down first, right? And then getting up. That's what they say in The Matrix movie, when Neo fails his first attempt to jump between the two buildings: "everybody falls the first time."
· This is key: for the successful ones, failure is Useful. They use it as a habit. They tame it and they use it as a steppingstone in their course of success. It is a badge of experience.
· If you think about it, it all comes down to Evolution. Evolution tells us what? That we require adaptation. As human beings, if we were unable to adapt to changes, we would be extinct by now. Adaptation requires the ability to take advantage of opportunities and also the ability to deal with failures. It means bouncing against the walls sometimes, it means falling down. Falling down is not the problem. Staying on the floor, face down, and lying there, that's the problem. Remember Bruce Wayne, Batman. As a kid he was trapped in a hole. His father comes to rescue him. What does he say to his son: "Why do we fall, Bruce? So we can learn to pick ourselves up." So it's okay to fail and to fall as long as we get back up on our feet, learn from what happened and keep moving forward.
· Ultimately, that's what failure is for successful people: it's Fuel.
o It's the energy they feel when they know they are on their way;
o It's the power that excites them when they do things that count;
o It's the passion they experience when they know they are on their way.
That's what failure is for the Heroes.
How can we go from one side to the other, from the dark side of the Force, to the light side of it? Well, I believe in three things.
First, we have to raise our own standards. We have to look up and put high expectations on ourselves. No great long-lasting success came easily.
Two, we have to rethink our perception of failure:
· Unless you decide otherwise, failures are not absolute but relative
· They are not permanent but temporary
· They are not opposed to success but they entirely part of it
Three, we have to care about resources. Where can we find the energy to perform this profound change? I think the answer might be in the question.
You see, I truly believe, and deeply believe, that we can all be the main character of our own story. You saw a lot of my Heroes during the presentation. Here's one more. One of my personal Heroes, James Hetfield, lead singer of the band Metallica, once said: "Dream big and dare to fail." And that's what I wish for all of us, because that way, the real question about failure is no longer: "Will I fail?" versus "Will I succeed?" The real question becomes: "What can I do and how can I hold on long enough to use whatever happened to me in my life as a contribution to my success?"
The bottom line of all this is that failure and success, they're pretty close to each other. They are both sides of the same coin. It means that like success, failure is all about attitude. It means that what happens to you is less important than what you'll do with it. How will we flip the coin?
To conclude, I'd like to use a French sentence. It sounds horrible in English. Basically, it means something like: "We have to let things lose if we want to win."
In French, we may want to say: "Puisqu'on récolte ce qu'on sème, plantons-nous."