Stories of failure and success

Steve Jobs

In my last blog post, I was talking about the fear of failure and the steps you need to take to avoid such a problem. I concluded my post with the video where Steve Jobs talks about his failures and agrees that recognizing one’s limits is absolutely essential. But when I mentioned Steve Jobs, I realized, that learning from one’s failures is not the only thing that helped him to become one of the most inspiring and successful people in the world.

Guy Kawasaki, a Silicon Valley venture capitalist, bestselling author, and Apple Fellow, writes on his blog:

‘Many people have explained what one can learn from Steve Jobs. But few, if any, of these people have been inside the tent and experienced first hand what it was like to work with him…’

Guy Kawasaki

In this video, he outlines the principles that guided Steve’s outlook in regard to business and product development that can be applied to all of our efforts. He highlights that the most important lesson he learned from Steve Jobs is that the starting point of changing the world is changing a few minds.


Michael Phelps

Another inspirational man is Michael Phelps, who managed to win 18 gold medals from four summer Olympic games despite many failures he experienced in his life. This article discusses how he hit the bottom as a child, when he was diagnosed with attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder, when his parents got divorced and when he experienced bullying at school. Despite being diagnosed with a mental illness, Phelps found his field of interest and worked towards his goals in an incredibly driven way.

But how to be like Michael Phelps in making our dreams come true and why does our brain sometimes stop us from achieving our goals? Here, Gregory Ciotti, the founder of Sparring Mind, explains how to combat your brain’s own brilliance which often has devastating effects on your long-term goals.


Atul Gawande

The celebrated American surgeon and writer, who now leads a global drive for the World Health Organisation, is obsessed with failure.  ‘Instead of celebrating surgery’s 99.5 per cent success rate, we need to examine its 0.5 per cent failure rate,’ he says.

‘It is in those margins that thousands of lives are lost…’

Atul Gawande reports that Gawanda has won a wide acclaim due to his books, which have become international bestsellers. All of them are about failure: how it happens, how we learn from it, how we can do better.


A week ago, I was ready to drop one of the courses at my university. But thanks to my professor, who admitted his mistake and tried to coach me in the right direction, I managed to avoid the failure. Now I can see that it is rather important to go on and fight in order to make your dreams come true and achieve your high aims. Writing this blog post was very inspirational and  highly motivating for me, as the stories of Steve Jobs, Michael Phelps and Atul Gawande showed me that in spite of the difficulties they had been facing to (not comparable to my difficulties, of course), they managed to be more successful than anyone else.  If you were interested in more stories about learning from failure, please read this article, which offers more stories about people who learnt from their mistakes. Here, you will find out how failure makes us stronger.

‘But it is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all—in which case, you fail by default.’