Success and Failure

I was watching a movie the other day and one of the characters said something that resonated with me. He said “the worth of a life can not be measured by a single success or a solitary failure.” In times of extreme difficulty and failure it is hard sometimes to put that event in perspective. Similarly, the joy of a singular success is challenging to comprehend when the task is particularly difficult. Take for example the basketball team that has a losing season. Out of the blue, they play the championship team and beat them. The game they play is practically inconsequential, yet it is difficult not to celebrate the moment. The problem arises however if this losing team thinks that this single win serves something greater than the actual moment of joy.

Similarly, project teams and business teams in work environments are often challenged with the same concept of winning versus losing. An example of this would be a sales team within a company celebrating the fact that neither they nor their biggest competitors won a certain bid. The fact of the matter is that both teams are losers. In this case the sales team is celebrating for the wrong reasons.

Although I believe that the bigger challenge if with failure. Understandably, at the moment that failure takes place, people tend to not look at the big picture. They often forget that failure can be a great teacher and motivator.

Over the past several years I’ve attempted to do two things. In moments of success, I try to remember what it was like to fail, so that I don’t let the success go too much to my head. Conversely, in times of failure, I try to remember what it will take to success so that the failure does not become a serial one.