To Succeed in Life You Must Have the Ability to Accept Failure as an Outcome, Rebound From It, and Try Again.

Tonight one of my favorite movies was on. The Usual Suspects is a classic with the way it weaves the story telling. Every now and then I’ll look up some quotes from the movie just to remember their cool delivery.

Dave Kujan: First day on the job, you know what I learned? How to spot a murderer. Let’s say you arrest three guys for the same killing. You put them all in jail overnight. The next morning, who’s ever sleeping is your man. You see, if you’re guilty, you know you’re caught, you get some rest, you let your guard down.
Verbal: Then he showed those men of will what will really was.
Verbal: How do you shoot the devil in the back? What if you miss? 
Verbal: After that my guess is that you will never hear from him again. The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world he did not exist. And like that… he is gone.

This blog entry is about the second quote above. Having the will to accomplish something is perhaps the only real factor that matters. It enables perseverance and failure isn’t an end and more of a blip or a learning opportunity while success is just around the corner.

Tennis had it’s longest match ever this past week. The two players, John Isner and Nicolas Mahut, played 980 points over 11 hours and 5 minutes. The match was contested over 3 days as neither guy could break the serve of the other, so they kept going and going. Energy waned and heart took over. They each demonstrated what it takes to succeed in life: the ability to accept failure as an outcome, rebound from it, and try again. has a blog entry called The Long of Coming Up Short by Whitney Johnson. She talks about how she missed an opportunity to learn about calculus, something applicable to her adult life, because she didn’t want to negatively impact her transcript. Getting a B was worse than not taking the course at all was her reasoning. She later regretted it.

I’ve spoken many times about the need for critical thinking. The ability to be creative while problem solving. But I wish I said this:

In the words of George Polya, a Hungarian mathematician and educator, we need to build processes into our work to find “a way out of difficulty, a way around an obstacle, attaining an aim which is not immediately attainable.”

And you have to have the will to persevere. It’s the only way to succeed.


Posted in:

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: