Thursday, 5 September 2013

Success breeds success - a story

There was a farmer who grew superior quality, award-winning corn in  his farm. Each year, he entered his corn in the state fair where it won honors and Prizes.

One year a newspaper reporter interviewed him and learned something interesting about how he grew his corn. The reporter discovered that the farmer shared his seed corn with his neighbors.

"How can you afford to share your best seed corn with your neighbors when they are entering corn in competition with yours each year?" The reporter asked.

"Why brother" the farmer replied, "Didn't you know? The wind picks up pollen grains from the ripening corn and swirls it from field to field. If my neighbors grow inferior, sub-standard and poor quality corn, cross-pollination will steadily degrade the quality of my corn. If I have to grow good corn, I must help my neighbors to grow good corn."

The farmer gave a superb insight into the connectedness of life. His corn cannot improve unless his neighbor's corn also improves. So it is in the other dimensions and areas of life!

Those who choose to be in harmony must help their neighbors and colleagues to be at peace. Those who choose to live well must help others live well. The value of a life is not measured by how long one
lived it is measured by how many lives it touches.

Lessons to Learn from this Story: Success does not happen in isolation, it is most often a participatory and collective process. So share the good practices, ideas and new knowledge with your team
members and colleagues.
Even if there is an apparent 'loss' sharing ideas in the short run, in the long run, it is sure to help us all get better! :)

Do we learn more from success or failure? 


A ton of research over the past years has pointed us in the direction of learning from bright spots or successes. So, do we learn from failure? And do we learn more from success or failure?

I believe we learn from both. That shouldn’t be too much of a surprise coming from someone who writes under the banner of a blog called “lessons for life.” That said, I do believe learning from success is more powerful. 

Out of every 100 projects we attempt, it is likely we have about 80 failures and 20 successes. So, failures are a huge part of our life and learning from them is essential. That said, their primary function is to teach us that something doesn’t work. However, for every 10 ways that work, there are a 100 ways that don’t and thus, successes are few and far between.

So, we should learn from failure. That’s how we grow up, become wiser, and stay humble. But, we must focus our energy on learning from success. Luckily, we don’t have to restrict ourselves to our successful experiences - learning is an equal opportunity employer. When you see something working, copy it.. and then develop your own style. I have my eye on learning from Ben Franklin’s Junto at the moment..

Isn't failure a wonderful thing?


I was just grappling with a few thoughts and it occurred to me that failure is among the best things that can happen to us, like it or not..

Let's visit Man Utd after the Champs league final in Moscow after beating Chelsea. The mood is jubiliant, players partying and the like. It's only when Ferguson gets back to Old Trafford does he go back to the drawing board to plot next season's trophy attack..

How about when Utd were given a lesson in Rome this summer? Every player's mind must have had just 1 thought - what could we have done differently? What went wrong?

It is true that we must focus on things that go well but if it isn't for failure, we would never question, we would never ponder as to what went wrong...

1) Failure makes us humble. It does to me at atleast.. else I'd be flying too high for my own good..

2) Failure makes me think as to the things I can change - that within my circle of influence that would make me a better person that I would not have thought of had every step of mine led to success..

3) Failure makes me thankful for the things I take for granted.. a lovely family, wonderful friends, blessed teachers and mentors and great blessings like lovely food, money to spend and the like..

4) Failure makes me question my own deepest values, as to what really matters and whether this would matter to me 50 years from now.

5) And failure keeps me prepared for change..

Failure unfortunately is treated as a negative word. I've never felt its wrong to fail.. Falling down and staying down are two very different things.

And in the words of Rocky Balboa(from memory..inaccuracy alert :)) - 'Life will make you fall down to your knees and stay there if you let it. It is never about how hard you hit but about how hard you get hit and keep moving, how hard you get hit.. and keep moving..'  :)