3 Reasons Why Mistakes Always Create Success
When I left the Marine Corps, rich dad recommended that I get a job that taught me how to sell. He knew I was shy and that learning to sell was the last thing in the world I wanted to do.
For two years, I was the worst salesman in my company. I could not sell a life preserver to a drowning man. My shyness was painful, not only for me, but also to the customers I was trying to sell to. For those two years, I was often on probation and always on the verge of being fired.
I often blamed the economy, the product I was trying to sell, or even the customers for my lack of success. But rich dad told me, “When people are lame, they love to blame.”
He meant that the emotional pain from the disappointment is so strong that a person pushes the pain onto someone else through blame. In order to learn to sell, I had to face the pain of disappointment. But in the process of learning to sell, I found a priceless lesson: how to turn disappointment into an asset rather than a liability.
Whenever I meet people who are afraid to try something new, in most cases the reason lies in their fear of being disappointed. They are afraid they might make a mistake or get rejected. If you are ready to start your journey to the financial Fast Track, I offer you the same words of advice and encouragement that rich dad offered me when I was learning something new: Be prepared to be disappointed.
He meant this in a positive, not negative, sense. He believed that if you are prepared for disappointment, you can turn that disappointment into an asset. Most people turn disappointment into a liability, a long-term one. You notice this when they say, “I’ll never do that again,” or “I should have known I would fail.”
Just as inside every problem lies an opportunity, inside every disappointment lies a priceless gem of wisdom.
Whenever I hear someone say, “I’ll never do that again,” I know I am listening to someone who has stopped learning. They are letting disappointment stop them. Disappointment has erected a protective wall around them, instead of a foundation from which to grow.
Rich dad helped me learn how to deal with deep emotional disappointments. He would say, “The reason there are few self-made rich people is because few people can tolerate disappointment. Instead of learning to face disappointment, they spend their lives avoiding it.”
Rich dad believed that disappointment is an important part of learning. Just as we learn from our mistakes, we gain character from our disappointments. The following are some words of advice he gave me over the years:
Expect to Be Disappointed
Rich dad often said, “Only fools expect everything to go the way they want. Expecting to be disappointed does not mean being passive or a defeated loser. Expecting to be disappointed is a way of mentally and emotionally preparing yourself to be ready for surprises that you may not want. By being emotionally prepared, you can be calm and dignified when things do not go your way. When you are calm, you think better.”
Over the years, I have met many people with great new business ideas. Their excitement lasts about a month, and then disappointment begins to wear them down. Soon their excitement is diminished, and all you hear them say is, “That was a good idea, but it didn’t work.”
It’s not the idea that didn’t work. It was disappointment that worked harder. They allowed their impatience to turn into disappointment, and then they allowed the disappointment to defeat them. Many times, this impatience is because they did not receive immediate financial reward. Business owners and investors may wait years to see cash flow from a business or investment, but they go into it with the knowledge that success may take time. They also know that when success is achieved, the financial reward will be well worth the wait.
Have a Mentor Standing By
Like those emergency numbers for fire and police that we always have handy, who is on your list of trusted and knowledgeable contacts? For me, my financial mentors take center stage. They are only a phone call away if I have a financial emergency.
Often, before I go into a deal or venture, I call one of my friends and explain what I’m doing and what I intend to accomplish. I also ask them to stand by in case I find myself in over my head, which is often.
I was once negotiating for a large piece of real estate with a seller who was playing hardball and changing the terms at the closing. He knew I wanted the property, and he was doing his best to get more money from me at the last minute. Having a hot temper, my emotions went out of control. But instead of blowing the deal by yelling and shouting, which is my normal inclination, I simply asked if I could use the phone to call my partner.
I talked to my three friends who were standing by. After getting their advice on how to handle the situation, I calmed down and learned three new ways to negotiate that I had not known before. The deal never went through, but I still use those negotiation techniques today—techniques I would never have learned if I had not tried to do the deal. That knowledge is priceless.
The point is that we can never know everything beforehand, and we often only learn things when we need to learn them. That is why I recommend that you try new things and expect disappointment, but always have a mentor standing by to coach you through the experience. Many people never start projects simply because they don’t have all the answers. You will never have all the answers but begin anyway. One of my friends always says, “Many people will not head down the street until all the lights are green. That is why they don’t go anywhere.”
Tell the Truth
One of the worst punishments I ever received as a child was the day I accidentally broke my sister’s front tooth. She ran home to tell my dad, and I ran to hide.
After my father found me, he was very angry. He scolded me, “The reason I’m punishing you isn’t because you broke your sister’s tooth, but because you ran away.”
Financially, there have been many times I could have run from my mistakes but running away is taking the easy way out.
In short, we all make mistakes. We all feel upset and disappointed when things don’t go our way. The difference lies in how we process that disappointment. Rich dad said, “The size of your success is measured by the strength of your desire, the size of your dream, and how you handle disappointment along the way.”
In the next few years, we will have financial changes that will test our courage. As Bob Dylan sang, “The times they are a-changin’.” The people who are most in control of their emotions, who do not let their emotions hold them back, and who have the emotional maturity to learn new financial skills will flourish in the years ahead.
The future belongs to those who can change with the times and use personal disappointments as building blocks for the future.