Success is like a swan gliding across a pond. Graceful, effortless, and lovely. We see a beautiful bird, sitting in water, serenely gliding over it. We admire, marvel at its calm and beauty. What we don’t see are its furiously paddling feet underneath and the ripples it creates as it cuts through the pond.
Before a swan could glide, it floundered a lot of times. Have you watched and laughed at cygnets learning how to swim? Their drab and indeterminate-colored feathers were certainly lacklustre, and their ungraceful and uncoordinated attempts amusing, but never impressive. Who would have thought these cute, funny, and awkward creatures will turn out to be the lovely elegant swans?
In many ways, entrepreneurs are like the swan. They don’t take to the business world as easily and as gracefully. There is always a learning process. A time to acclimatize to the new world, to learn the ins and outs of the industry, and to get oriented with how things work. This learning process will come with a lot of curveballs, sharp turns, and forked roads.
Just like the cygnet who floundered on his first few attempts to swim, you also will suffer setbacks and failures. You will make a lot of wrong turns, miss a lot of opportunities, and even fall off the track a few times.
And just like the cygnet, nobody will take much notice of your efforts. No one will be counting how many time you fail. But for each new attempt, for every time you rise back, you gain a little more respect, a little more confidence. Each failure is wisdom gained. So, you use the experience to do better, to make better choices, and to achieve more goals.
And just like the swan, nobody will remember your awkward phase. They will only see your calm beauty and the enterprise you built. Not the hard work you do every day, the battles you’ve won, nor challenges you face in the future.
The most persistent cygnets are the ones who learn how to swim and glide effortlessly. Success is not the opposite of failure. It is how you conquer failure – stand back up, brush off the dust, and prepare for a new fight. Cry if you must, but when you’re done, make sure to get back into your fighting form. Because to succeed is to fail a hundred times and to rise and fight back a hundred and one times.