HOW TO PROFIT FROM DEFEAT
BY NAPOLEON HILL
Every plan and every purpose in this life carries with it the possibility of defeat somewhere along the line.
The important thing is to learn that defeat does not mean failure, unless you accept it as such. This means we are never defeated by other persons or by circumstances. We defeat ourselves, unless we learn to rise above adversity.
Many people who have reached high success express gratitude for the defeats they met on the way up. These defeats provide a “testing time” which helped them gain self-confidence.
They learned that they possessed a power that was limitless and which could overcome any of the causes of defeat.
The turning point in the lives of very successful people often comes after some unpleasant experience which turns them into new paths of opportunity.
When Benjamin Franklin was a young man, he went to Philadelphia looking for a job. As he walked down the street munching a loaf of bread, a pretty young
woman was so amused at his appearance that she pointed her finger at him and laughed heartily.
Her bad manners paid off handsomely for Franklin, for he stopped and introduced himself to her so politely that she became ashamed of her conduct and apologized. She later became Franklin’s wife and his major source of inspiration while he was struggling to gain a place for himself.
Asked why he married a woman who treated him so rudely, Franklin replied that he had made up his mind to “tame” her and see if he could influence her to direct
her charming personality to something better than making fun of strangers.
Benjamin Franklin became great because, in addition to his many other fine traits and sound judgment, he learned how to look for that seed of an
equivalent benefit that comes with every unpleasant circumstance.
During the depression, Eddie Cantor lost all of his fortune. When a friend asked him what he was going to do about it, Cantor replied, “I am going to profit by the experience—and get busy making more money the way I made that which I lost.” The main thing is to recognize that every adversity and every defeat carries with it the seed of an equivalent or even a greater benefit.
Perhaps more important still, you will discover, as every successful person must, that every experience that comes your way, whether it be pleasant or unpleasant, can be of service to you in carrying out your mission in life. When you make this discovery, you will never again accept temporary defeat or failure as anything more than a challenge by which you can test the confidence you have in yourself, the faith you have in your Creator.
Source: Success Unlimited, July 1968, pp. 53-54