Often we can become so consumed with the fear of failure, that we stay stuck within the confines of our comfort zone, stunting our growth and limiting our potential.
I want to tell a story of one person who saw his failure as opportunity to success. Brian Acton was a software engineer who graduated from Stanford. Acton worked first at Apple and then at Yahoo for around a dozen years, until in 2007, he decided to travel to South America for a year with his friend and colleague Jan Koum.
On their return, both of them applied to Facebook and Twitter for jobs but both were rejected. Acton tweeted in May 2009, ‘Got denied by Twitter HQ. That’s okay. Would have been a long commute.’
A few months later, in August 2009, he followed it up with another tweet, ‘Facebook turned me down. It was a great opportunity to connect with some fantastic people. Looking forward to life’s next adventure.’
And his next adventure changed the world. In the same year that he got rejected, on his birthday, he co-founded Whatsapp along with his friend Jan Koum.
The app grew exponentially, its success unparalleled. So much so that in 2014, Facebook decided to buy it, for a staggering $19 billion. By December 2017, Whatsapp had 1.5 billion active users!
You’ve perhaps heard this time and again, that every rejection, every failure is a stepping stone for success. Failure is not a destination in itself but a stop that comes on the route to success. Next time you get rejected for a job interview, remember this story.
Napoleon Hill once said, “Every adversity, every failure, every heartache carries with it the seed of an equal or greater benefit.”
Remember that no failure is permanent, no set-back too great, no obstacle too high to climb up, go around, dig under or blast through. You simply need to find the right tools to do it. Find the opportunities in your failures and turn them into stepping stones to success.