It's good to know what it is to fail

By , Special to The Christian Science Monitor

* "You're in a risky position, Peter. You've never known what it is to fail." College counselor Bill ripley was talking to a high school valedictorian years ago who took heed of the warning and has, since, received his bachelor's degree from Harvard and entered graduate school.

* "You will never become a champion until you learn how to fail," says diving great Pat McCormick, recipient of four Olympic gold Medals, to her students.

* "If you've never failed, you haven't set your goals high enough; you've never really tested your potential," states Joe C. Hearn, founder of a company called the Motivation Corporation. And he asserts: "Fear of failure is the reason people don't establish goals."

Recommended: Thomas Alva Edison: 10 quotes on his birthday

* A prestigious New Englans preparatory school became several million dollars stronger because a student who once was expelled wanted to thank the institution in later life for having given him the "kick in the pants" he had needed to turn his life around.

* "You'll never amount to anything, Einstein," A Latin teacher once told a slow student who rebelled against rote learning. Two relativity theories later, he would tell associates that "the stiff-necked stubbornness of a mule" was his only special gift.

* Winston Churchill, who recalled spending three years in the same grade, managed to learn so thoroughly there how to write that "nobel thing" an English sentence that he received the Novel Prize for Literature.

* Thomas Edison said to his son Charles as they watched the material achievement of the inventor's career go up in flames:

"You can make capital out of disaster."

He told charles Edison, who later became governor of New Jersey, that they would rebuild the entire electric works and laboratories better than before, profiting by the mistakes they had made the first time.

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