Time Assassins and Missing Chapters from the Stories of Iconic Achievers

Posted on January 26, 2018

Failure is most commonly linked to ‘lack of success’, the prospect of which has, since our early years, instilled in us a range of emotions that undermine and sabotage the perception we hold of our self-worth and competence. Dampening our adventurous spirit and courage.

I invite you, right now, to name 3 well-known, highly successful people…

Individuals that may have come to mind might include:

  • Leonardo Da Vinci
  • Elon Musk
  • Walt Disney
  • Jack Ma

While their incredible paintings, inventions and multi-billion businesses inspire, amaze and astound us, raising the bar on what’s possible in human creativity and intellect…

their emblematic successes stand on the shoulders of multiple failures. The details of which make up chapters that are often missing, or unspoken about, in the narratives of their impressive achievements.

  • Leonardo Da Vinci encountered many professional obstacles and challenges throughout his 20’s and 30’s including not finishing several of his commissions on time, which led to many people refusing to hire him.
  • Elon Musk was ousted as CEO from his company Zip2 and his first Paypal product was voted one of the top 10 worst business ideas.
  • Walt Disney was fired from a Missouri newspaper for “not being creative enough” and one of his earlier studios — “Laugh-o-gram” —went bankrupt.
  • Before founding Alibaba, Jack Ma was turned down for 30 jobs and made a living on $12 a month… he calls Alibaba ‘1,001 mistakes’.

By inserting these chapters back into the success stories of these iconic achievers we connect in with the adventurous journey of their creativity. Appreciating the reality that what sits behind the ‘achievement’ is a lifelong process filled with ups and downs, twists and turns.

The failures of these highly successful individuals were compost that nurtured: optimism, resolve and patience, as well as learning and wisdom. Denying ourselves the permission to fail plenty in the process of cultivating achievement, is denying ourselves the opportunity to authentically experience ‘struggles’. Struggles that ultimately break us open so that we might discover these qualities within us.

In such a fast moving world, the modern day pace sets perhaps an unrealistic expectation of when we might hope to see the fruits of our imaginations and energy come to bear. In becoming time assassins, eradicating time as a factor from the journey we must all go onto turn our visions into reality, we miss recognising both time and failure as integral to great success.

Failure and time nourish our efforts and gift us with wisdom, insight and a grace that keeps us open and inspired by the adventure of it all.

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