Failure Is An Event Not A Person


The title of this article is one of the most cherished thoughts in my life. Why? I have had reasons to give up on my dreams, I sometimes experience discouragement and I have experienced frustrations at my own weaknesses. After all is said and done, what remains is that I never give up on myself. I never lose the vision of a better me or the vision of a prosperous future.

Let me share this with you: Imagine if you were 67 and factories worth $7 million that you have laboured all your life to build suddenly went up in flames and insurance can only cover $2 million. In traditional Africa, this would be considered the work of witches or household demons. But the man who suffered this set back had a right perspective to failure and setbacks.

Guess what he did?

He asked his 7000 workers to resume for work the following day and that manufacturing must commence in the next 10 days, having started mapping out plans for a rebuilding campaign.

Who would do that? Like I haven’t had enough of his crazy optimism, this unusual man told his son to go call his wife to come watch as his factory burned saying, “Find her! Bring her here! She’ll never see anything like this as long as she lives.”

What man would react by saying the next morning after such a terrible disaster,”There’s value in disaster. All our mistakes are burned up. Thank God, we can start anew.” That company is what became General Electric today and this profound man is Thomas Edison. He is the one who said,”Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.”

Winston Churchill understood how to put failure in perspective when he said, “Success is the ability to go from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm.”

Winston Churchill personally knew failure. He suffered many defeats in his political career but later went on to become the British Prime Minister that rallied allied forces alongside Franklin Roosevelt, the then United States President, to defeat Adolf Hitler during World War 2. He is the man famous for giving one of the shortest but profound speeches ever saying, “Never! Never! Never give up” and he walked away.

Are you discouraged that things are not working the way you expect? See what Advice Churchill would give you,”A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.”

Walt Disney was fired by a newspaper editor because, “he lacked imagination and had no good ideas.” After that, Disney started a number of businesses that didn’t last too long and ended with bankruptcy and failure. His persistence in the face of failure eventually paid off, giving birth to one of the best-known motion picture production companies in the world, Disney Land, Mickey Mouse, Snow White and The Seven Dwarfs animation.

The founders of WhatsApp, Jan Koum and Brian Acton sought jobs at Facebook and were rejected. They interpreted their failure as an opportunity to pursue their own dreams. Facebook later purchased the idea of the people they once rejected for $19 Billion and Jan Koum (a former job seeker at the same company five years back) now sits on the board of Facebook.

Apostle Peter, after betraying the Saviour he promised fervently not to deny could have been lost in the wilderness of guilt and failure. His story could have ended after that betrayal. He even went back to fishing (a substitute for his real destiny). However, he chose to embrace his Master’s love and forgiveness, preached his first sermon that won 3000 souls that began the early church.

What miracles happen when people choose not to give up on themselves!

My question to you is – What have you gone to fish for because you feel you have failed so much and cannot achieve your God-given destiny? Remember before you allow your circumstances to seal your fate – God never gives up on people, people give up on themselves.

I always remember Napoleon Hill’s insight, “Every adversity, every failure, every heartache carries with it the seed of an equal or greater benefit.”

Do not internalize your failures. Refuse to see yourself as a failure or call yourself one. “Success is who you are”, says Sam Adeyemi. John Maxwell said in Failing Forward,”In life, the question is not if you will have problems, but how you are going to deal with them.”

Here is what I always say to myself to maintain perspective, “Layi, your attitude about your a situation is always more important than the facts.”

Can I ask you – will you find the courage to begin again? Every day offers you just that opportunity. Seize today’s, tomorrow’s and the day after next. Always treat failure as an event not a person.

To your success

Layi Adeyemi

Follow me on twitter: @layiadeyemi. Connect with me on facebook:

I’m deeply committed to sharing ideas and strategies that will help you experience personal transformation and productivity.

About Layi Adeyemi
Layi is a consummate speaker, author, trainer and peak performance coach. As a management consultant, he helps various SMEs realize their full potential through strategy formulation for the development of their human capital and for achieving business growth. You can reach him at


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