Why You Should Learn to Fail Successfully

How to Fail Successfully

There are 7 Reasons Failure Can Boost You to Success. The key phrase is reason. There isn’t anyone who understands failure like me. We can look at the famous failures in the world and use their models for success through failure to guide our management style, our home life, our business life, friendships and our personal and professional lives.

Forrest for the Trees

One doesn’t have to look far to find successful failures. Not everyone we recognize as successful arrived there at the end of a well-planned journey. More often than not, the most famous examples of success faced huge obstacles and roadblocks that was the catalyst for their recognized successes. As is demonstrated in every form of academia, the smartest people are not often the most successful people. A degree does not guarantee success. For example, I made a fortune long before I ever had a degree.

Some of the most well-known people in the world were also some of the least-well known for their failures;

Henry Ford: The road to success for the automobile guru failed into bankruptcy five times in other businesses before he founded the successful Ford Motor Company.

Walt Disney: Today, Walt Disney is the icon for family and fun in movies, theme parks and merchandising. However, he was a complete failure as a newspaper editor and fired because he, “lacked imagination”! Go figure…

Abe Lincoln: Abe failed miserably at politics and his military career. He went to war a captain and returned a private only to become president. He also failed in business seven time to include bankruptcy and social embarrassment. Yet he is known as one of this country’s greatest leaders.

Bill Gates: A college drop-out, Gates failed at data businesses again and again until he founded Microsoft… and the rest is history. One of the world’s richest men, Bill Gates embodies all that we consider as success… but born from failure.

Albert Einstein: The term genius is synonymous with the name Einstein. Yet Albert Einstein didn’t speak until he was four and could not read until he was eleven! He was expelled from school, shunned and ignored as well as considered an abject academic and social failure, handicapped and anti-social among his peers and educators. Yet he was later awarded the Nobel prize for physics and recognized as the father of modern physics. Put that in your pipe and smoke it!

… and more.

The Key to Failure

The key to our retort to failure is the key to our success. Failure has benefits if we consider them an ally instead of an adversary;

1. Failure gives opportunity to learn.

The opportunity to learn is a valuable teacher when we seek to blame others for our failures. Originality is frequently born from a lack of experience.

2. Failure demands accountability.

The failure to change can be a fatal flaw in our perception of the need to learn from and move forward. Making mistakes means you are doing something. Not making mistakes translates to a reluctance to change based on what we learned from our failures.

3. Failure is a reason to explore.

The highest prize for failure is taking a grasp on the reason we fail and seeking another avenue to enhance our success. To investigate the motive is to explore the weakness and seek to overcome it.

4. Great Success is born from great fear.

Success comes just beyond your comfort zone. Fear usually propels one to success just after you have experienced what seems to be insurmountable fear. Rejection, disappointment, setback, defeat, and soul-crushing denial are the murderers of success.

5. Mindset sets the stage for success.

There is no greater tool in the arsenal of success-building than mindset. After all, who can control one’s success better than you? A healthy mind can deliver the crushing blow to defeat again and again. The roots of the greatest success develop from the seeds of overcoming adversity and defeat.

6. Failure demands change.

Once was said that, “our failure to learn from our defeat will demand that we repeat our future poor performance.” Change is essential to demonstrate that we have learned from our mistakes so as to not repeat them. The slightest delay in change will cement our feet to collapse and guarantee our failure.

7. Failure is reason for improvement.

Improvement is always the intuitive result of innovation when directed by the experience of failure. No greater examples of innovation are aerospace travel and aviation where the experience of failure has written the rule book of future success.

The sweetest victory are the spoils of the tough battles. With this, I say that we need to embrace failure with the same enthusiasm as we embrace success… and then model our efforts thus so.

By Dr. Mark Zupo


How to Properly Condition Leather

Upholstery grade leather has about 25% moisture content as it leaves the tannery. This moisture content is typically natural oils like neetsfoot that is infused into the fiber structure imparting suppleness. These oils are volatile, meaning they evaporate away overtime at a rate dependent on heat and humidity. If you are in a very dry climate and the leather is exposed to direct sun or other heat source then the evaporation rate is considerably accelerated compared to a damp climate or where the leather is not exposed to a direct heat source like the warming sun.

As moisture evaporates from leather two things happen: 1. the leather shrinks due to lose of mass, and 2. the leather loses is internal lubrication. In either case the effect is stiffening. At some point, where the moisture content drops below 5% or so, the leather feels and behaves like a piece of cardboard. This is its demise.

Leather conditioners contain replenishing oils. The goal of conditioning leather then is instill lost lubrication to keep the moisture content elevated. Consequently, this simple maintenance procedure prolongs the leather’s life. It’s a pretty simple concept. However, there is more to the story. Here are some important considerations:

pH Issue. pH measures acidity or alkalinity. The range is from 1 to 14 with pure water being neutral at 7.0. Leather is acidic. It measures 4.5 to 5.0 on a pH scale. Furthermore, the pH scale is logarithmic, meaning that each whole number is 10 times more or less acidic or alkaline than the next number in the scale. When you mix two elements that have differing pH, a chemical reaction occurs. In the case of leather, this chemical reaction accelerates the breakdown of leather fibers. Therefore, any conditioner applied to leather should be pH balanced to leather so as not to damage the leather.

Coated (Pigmented) Leather. Most leather has a surface color coating. This coating is also covered with a clear coat providing protection and wear resistance. So, if something spills on the leather, it is easily wiped up without penetrating and staining the leather. These coatings are generally chemical engineered to have a certain degree of porosity, allowing the leather to breath. However, the ability for a conditioning agent to penetrate through this protective barrier is a challenge. This is particularly true with automobile grade leather. For automobile leather, the most effective procedure is to warm the leather up a bit (leave the car in the sun for a few hours) before you apply a conditioner. Warming the leather reduces viscosity allowing a higher absorption potential. Then, aggressively massaging the conditioner into the leather will help.

Over conditioning. If a little is good, then a lot must be better, right? A common mistake is to apply too much conditioner. Think of a sponge fully laden with water. Adding more water is not possible. This is also true with leather. If the moisture content is at its maximum, then adding more conditioner does nothing except to sit on the leather surface, drying over time and turning sticky and gooey.

Old, Desiccated Leather. If old leather has lost most of its moisture then it can be a huge mistake to attempt to revive it by adding conditioner (moisture). Think of a piece of cardboard that gets wet. It turns the cardboard fibers to mush. The same is true for leather. If your leather is old and dried out, the best strategy is to leave it alone and consult a professional. There are specific chemistries that can be used to prolong the life of old leather. The run-of-the-mill conditioner is not one of them.

When to Condition. As in over conditioning, if the leather is new, then it has a full compliment of moisture. There is no reason to condition as it hasn’t had time to lose its moisture. As a general rule, begin conditioning leather after 6 months to a year. And then re-apply every 3 to 6 months depending how dry the environment. In certain cases a more frequent regimen is appropriate like in the summer months of a desert climate.

What to buy? There are dozens of leather conditioning products on the market so it can be confusing. Read the label.

  1. If it says for leather or vinyl, it’s not right as you can’t have an effect product that works for both materials. They are very different from each other. One is organic, the other synthetic.
  2. See if it’s pH balanced to leather. If it doesn’t say it, conclude that it is not good for your leather. This pH issue is the single most important consideration. And, it is the reason why you should NEVER use saddle soap for furniture or automotive grade leather. It’s far to harsh.
  3. What does it smell like? Its going into your car or home. You’ll have to live with the odor if it’s not pleasant.
  4. Talk to a pro. Get advice from those in the know. And, that’s probably not the sales clerk selling it.

How to Apply. Generally, a thin coating is sufficient. Apply the conditioner to a soft cloth, massaging into the cloth and then wipe over the target leather. If the leather is heavily coated, then massage the leather with the conditioner.

Leather That Should Not Be Conditioned. Be very careful with suede or nubuck leather. While they will lose moisture as well, conditioning them in a standard procedure runs to risk of staining the leather. It can leave the leather looking blotchy, thus destroying the aesthetic appeal. Additionally, delicate leather like calf or lamb skin should be treated cautiously.

The most important consideration is to be sure that you are doing the right thing with whatever maintenance products you use on leather. In the end it’s always wise to consult with a professional.