Here is an inspiring quote from Jack Ma:
“I failed 3 times in college. I applied 30 times to get a job but I have always been rejected. When KFC came to China for the first time, we were 24 to apply and I was the only one to be dismissed. I wanted to go into the police and 5 postulants, I was the only one not to be accepted. I applied 10 times to return to Harvard University USA and I was rejected. “
Jack Ma is the creator of Alibaba Creator and 22nd World fortune according to Forbes in 2015 with $29.8 billion.
The common-sense lesson from here is:
Never give up because you failed once, know that failure is sometimes out of the way to reach your intended route.
The blindspot is:
Explain your failure due to lack of effort as a stepping stone towards future greatness.
I have personally witnessed several hundred times (at the least) where people use quotes like the above to justify their lack of success without fully comprehending or conveniently ignoring the fact that succeeding after that many failures and rejections is a mega-exception to any number of rules for success.
Before you quote a dozen other similar success stories, remember that there are over 7 billion people on this earth. At best, you will find a few hundred success stories – that kind of scarcity is what makes them get amazing (and well deserved) media attention.
What gets reported in the media and in biographies is the tip of the iceberg, because there is an inner game for everyone (including for you and I) that is much more deeper than the reported outer journey.
The bigger the inner transformation post every rejection and failure, the bigger the future impact.
If you get caught in the blind spot though, you may decide to use these stories as crutches and relax rather than doubling down on the inner transformation AND increasing your capacity and connections to prepare better for your next attempt to make your mark.
In summary, we all have to remember that there are no medals awarded for finding inspiration. We do have a shot at it when we make a valuable contribution.