Bruce Wayne’s alter ego, Batman, wasn’t always the fierce crime fighting hero we now know him to be. In the movie Batman Begins, you get a glimpse into his childhood and a significant event that shaped his life.
In one specific scene, Bruce falls into an old shaft and encounters what would become his greatest fear and eventually his insignia – bats.
In this specific scene, Batman’s father, Thomas Wayne, goes down the elevator shaft and lifts his son to daylight. As the elder Wayne carries young Bruce up the stairs, accompanied by the family’s faithful butler, there is a short yet important dialog that would later transform young Bruce’s perception:
“Alfred Pennyworth: Took quite a fall, didn’t we, Master Bruce?
Thomas Wayne: And why do we fall, Bruce? So we can learn to pick ourselves up. “
We fall so we can learn to pick ourselves up – they sure know how to write a script!
So why do we fail?
Success is so glorified that we sometimes underestimate the value of failures. To become truly successful, it is my belief that you’ll need to have tasted failure and overcome it. Some of history’s greatest men and women (not just Batman – who unfortunately isn’t real) had their share of “downs” before they succeeded.
The examples below explain exactly why failure is sometimes a necessary step towards success…
1# Successful people are not created; they are made after tasting failure
Steve Jobs was a college dropout, an unsuccessful businessman and I’m not going to start even with the amount of time he was called “heretic” before he became one the biggest tech mentors the world had seen. Abraham Lincoln had 12 major failures before he became a President; he became President with only five years of formal education…you know the rest.
Get the big picture? They reached their positions through a long period of trial and error, experiencing failures which they ultimately turned into greatness.
2# Success is never final, failure is never fatal. It’s courage that counts.
For the people mentioned above, and for everyone that succeeded, they treated failure as a step in the right direction. Their failures never ended their drive for success. The world would be a very different place if history’s greatest achievers stopped pursuing their dreams after failing once or twice.
People always associate courage with the battlefield. But it’s also the courage to continue when you’ve experienced countless failures. It’s courage to pick yourself up after the umpteenth failure and keep striving to achieve your goals. That’s courage that we can all exhibit in our daily lives as we pursue our dreams and goals.
3# Nature grows around obstacles, she does not succumb to them
Nature does not take “No” for an answer. No matter the obstacle, nature will find a way around it.
Nature can’t fail because failure means death. When faced with ideal conditions, nature will continually try to overachieve. When faced with dire conditions, it will do anything to survive. Whether its growing roots through a motorcycle or a fish breathing air during parts of the year when the water has dried, nature will find a way around any obstacles.
There’s a saying: “we don’t plan to fail, we simply fail to plan”. That’s true, but I’d add to my planning phase that somewhere along the line, we will all have failures. We should be mentally prepared for how we will react and overcome those failures. And, if it’s comforting, we should always keep in mind that we are in the company of greatness – all those people in history that failed, yet continue past those failures to greatness.