Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Being a Winner

"Celebrate failure. Yes, damn it, CELEBRATE. Try and fail and adjust and try and fail and adjust, then try and fail and adjust. Repeat. Forever. At the speed of light. To paraphrase my friend Richard Farson: 'Whoever makes the most mistakes wins.'"

--Tom Peters

This is so incredibly true. Embedded in this statement is also the complete refusal of not giving up. I have tried, oh, so many things since my early adolescence on purpose; I’ve had heartbreaks, some successes too. After writing a very lengthy novel some 12 years ago and after so many rejection letters from agents, I simply filed the work. I then wrote a collection of short stories of my travels which also did not go anywhere. Later I became a content editor of various works from business to self-help to philosophy and served as a ghost writer for another.

Eighteen months or so ago I had an ideal for a book. A friend suggested I begin a blog. I did so that very day and write many posts a month, though I may have to cut back very soon here. I check in with this friend occasionally by phone and email. "Am I still OK?" "Yeah, you're good. But... And... Have you thought of this?" "No, thanks!" I then try something else. I have quite a few people like this in various fields and I too am a sounding board for others.

This week I began writing the first 75 pages of a new work after having been asked to do so by arguably one of the finest agents in New York. I just kept trying stuff. The same can be said for the multiple businesses that I have started where some succeeded and others did not. But there are seeds remaining, however, in each.

What remains, what you keep after having tried, is also the significance of simply trying stuff. I never tire of trying stuff, even when momentarily I'm unsure or fearful. I tell myself courage is not the absence of fear; it is moving forward in spite of it. I press forward, anyway; clarity comes in trying stuff.

I'm winning even when I'm not.


Jo Jordan said...

Do it because you love it, not because you want to win.

There are three issues
What you love
Winning (if that is part of your make)
Making money

Do each separately. Write down three headings and each quarter work to each. SEPARATELY. Don't contaminate one with the other!

And congrats on your book deal!

judith ellis said...

Thanks, Jo, for your words. I tend to think that we have various reasons why we do whatever we do as our motivations are many.

While your "issues" seem all true to me, I'm not sure of what you mean by do it separately and the non-contimination element.

Hmmm? I will think on this some more. Can they all not be a part of the same motivation?

Wish me the best as I start this book!

James Oh said...

Thanks for sharing with you some of your experience, which I find interesting and encouraging. Here, here is the Chinese proverb about failure : - Failure is the source of success.

judith ellis said...

James Oh - I like that Chinese proverb. Thanks.

dave wheeler said...


"courage is not the absence of fear; it is moving forward in spite of it." I love that approach. Fear is healthy in many ways. Makes you think, focus, slow down. Reminds me of the old saying "There are old pilots and there are bold pilots. There are however no old bold pilots.

judith ellis said...

Yes, Dave, fear can be a motivator. But I believe that it is a inhibitor for many more than anything else. From your pilot saying the longer you have done a thing the less likely we are to take risks. I'm all for striking out anew, even in an old venture. We must constantly create and innovate. As people we must forever become more of what we will yet be. We must work on consciousness and our craft consistently. It is far too easy to take the road less traveled. But as Frost noted, it makes all the difference.