Failure, I’m not afraid of you.

Colonel Sanders wasn’t just rejected 1009 times

Colonel was born in 1890 in Indiana, US. His dad died when he was 5, leaving him with his mother and two younger siblings. So, he dropped out of school and started working. He left his home at age 12, after a good duration of an unpleasant relationship with his stepfather.

In 1906, he lied about his age to join the army. However, he was discharged just after 4 months. He soon got another job as a locomotive fireman at the Illinois Central Railroad, from where he was fired in just a few years for getting into a fight.

In 1915, he became an Arkansas lawyer, where he could practice law without being admitted to the bar. Here again, he was barred from further practice because he got into a fist fight was his own client in the court, in front of the judge. Then later, he was fired from the job of an insurance salesman.

Now, he was done with doing the jobs. So he started his own business, a ferry service on the Ohio River. Here, he was put out of business because a bridge was soon built on the river. So he started an acetylene lighting company. But here again, he failed.

After that, he tried his luck as a Michelin tire salesman. Just when he was starting to get a feel of success, he met with an accident. Guess what? He failed again.

And that wasn’t it. He started a service station where he started serving fried chicken among other things. It expanded into a motel-restaurant known as Sanders Court & Cafe. Soon, his 20-year-old son died in 1932. And, this restaurant of his burned down on the Thanksgiving of 1939.

Just when his friends were retiring with big balance in the bank accounts, Colonel was broke. Just when Colonel was about to hit his retirement from the working life, that the KFC (Kentucky Fried Chicken) we know now began to take shape.

He figured out 10 restaurants he could franchise, that would give him enough to retire peacefully. He drove distances, with a pressure cooker and bags of spices in the trunk, often sleeping in his car, to sell his recipe. It is said that Colonel was rejected 1009 times before his recipe for the fried chicken was accepted.

Colonel Sanders achieved success at the age 65.

Colonel Sanders
Colonel Sanders


What is your understanding of failure?

We all have different definitions of failure, simply because we all are different human beings having different benchmarks and belief systems. However, just to define it in simple words – Failure is the state or condition of not meeting the desired or intended objective, which often, is understood as the opposite of success.

Okay, I know that failure is the literal opposite of success. But, as humans, we have the liberty to attach meaning to every single thing in our lives. So why attach a disempowering meaning?

Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm.” – Winston Churchill

This quote has given me the meaning that failure is nothing but just a step towards success. Each time you fail, just remember that you’ve inched closer to your success. One day you’ll get there, but only if you don’t quit (I draw a lot of inspiration from Colonel Sanders here).


So what to do about the failure?

Study your failure. Learn about what went wrong, and work over it to win next time. Find out your faults and weaknesses, and correct them. Have belief in yourselfBe your own constructive critic. Here, you might seek the help of your mentor.

I’m sure you’ll find something to work upon for your next attempt at success. Use goal-setting and get in action. Be strong on your persistence. If required, blend it with experimentation to discover better ways of doing things.

Fall in love with the process, because what you become in the process is far more important than what your results say. Sounds fancy? If you look back after a failure, you’ll know that you’ve come a long way from what you were before you embarked on this journey to actualize your dreams. Just remember, there are people who don’t even begin, fearing the failure that you just experienced.

Colonel Sanders never would have achieved the success he achieved if he had quit trying. He made friends with failure. He learnt his lessons from his failures and kept moving forward.


Here today, I want to address and acknowledge my failure with gratitude

Failure, you have been a part of life every now and then. I used to hate you. I was so scared of you that I always tried to avoid you. How? By not trying to do anything which I thought was out of my comfort zone. And I stagnated my growth for years.

But I remember, each time I met you, you taught me a lesson. A lesson which if I would not have learnt back then, I never would have changed. I would not have been the man I am today.

You’ve taught me that getting knocked down in life is a given. Getting up and moving forward is a choice. And so, you’ve always given me the opportunity to begin again each time, with a little more wisdom than the previous time.

You’ve been a true friend to me. Each time I had my eye off my target, you’ve come and guided me the right way. You’ve pushed me to work harder, to explore my full potential, to achieve what I’ve set out to achieve. You’ve taught me to value my success. I am what I am today because I met you.

Failure, I’m not afraid of you.

Failure, thank you.


Failure quote

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