Perhaps the most notable single trait that all highly successful people have in common is persistence. Unlike most people, high achievers don’t let roadblocks, bumps in the road and nay-sayers slow them down. They don’t give up. It’s a theme we’ve all heard many times – stories of people having to overcome one hurdle after the next in order to achieve great things. Not coincidently, one of the other things that play a big role in the journey of most high achieving people is failure. In fact, some of the most spectacularly successful people you will ever encounter have also had some of the most spectacular failures.

These two things are connected, of course, and represent the most significant difference between these individuals and the rest of the world. Unlike high achievers, most of us are afraid of failure. We see it as a negative and painful thing – something to be avoided at all costs. And all too often we get so afraid of failing that we stop even trying.

If you’ve fallen into this trap, it’s time to take a page from those people who have reached the pinnacle of their careers. Don’t fear failure, embrace it. Instead of running from it, stop and pick it up. Shine a bright light on it and examine it closely. Learn from it. Then try again, this time with the knowledge that you’re a little wiser than before.

There’s a great quote, often (incorrectly) attributed to the Dalai Lama: “When you lose, don’t lose the lesson.” Great words to live by. Don’t be afraid of failure. Be afraid of not learning from it.

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