Explore Jim Harshaw Jr.’s transformative TED Talk on failure, where he challenges conventional views on success.

Popular TED Talks have been given by Tony Robbins, David Blaine and Simon Sinek. TED is a nonprofit devoted to spreading ideas in the form of short, powerful talks. Independently run TEDx events help share ideas in communities around the world.

Jim’s TED Talk on Failure

What is failure? And how does it relate to success? In what is one of the most defining TED Talks on failure, Jim Harshaw Jr. takes on this controversial issue and sheds a fresh, new light on it. 

Within only a few minutes, he tackles the crucial relevance of failure on the ultimate path to true success. In the exact words of Jim Harshaw Jr., failure isn’t just an option, it is a necessary part of success. 

How does this internationally recognized executive life coach arrive at this conclusion? What are the implications of these statements in the event they are true? And ultimately, what does this mean to your life, business, and family goals and aspirations? 

With only a few words, all of these secrets are laid bare in one of the best TED Talks on failure you’ll find on the internet. 

Defining and Redefining the Concept of Success 

The very first thing that Jim does is define the concept of success in the way most people have come to perceive it before redefining it in relation to failure. 

Using his career as a successful athlete to illustrate, Jim chronicles how he almost attained his greatest dream as an athlete on three separate occasions only to be denied. He explains in detail how this ordeal affected him on a truly profound level and highlighted the conclusions it forced him to draw. 

In a field that is so highly competitive and demanding, he explains in great detail how he gave his all and seemed to get absolutely nothing in return. 

This is where he also introduces the traditional definition of success, the one everyone seems so familiar with and children are taught at school. 

Most people have come to consider success as never failing, always getting or achieving the goal that they set out for the first go around. 

While this definition of success is not only predominant but attractive, Jim lets the world understand that it is far from true. In fact, holding yourself to such a strict and limited opinion of success can have a negative impact as it stops you from learning and understanding the things you truly need to succeed. 

Moving further, Jim narrates how his fourth encounter with the same challenge finally helped in deciphering the secret to true, lasting success. Through his previous experience of failure and disappointment and with the aid of a coach whose constant voice of reasoning kept him on track, he was able to truly dig deep and overcome what should’ve been insurmountable odds. 

He points out that that achievement would’ve been unattainable had he not gone through failure as a process. Failure was a necessary step to the success achieved. 

Fully Understanding the Role of Failure on the Journey to Success

“Whether you’ve been passed over at work multiple times for a promotion, or you were rejected from your first college of choice or maybe you’ve seen failure and have been let down in even worse areas. Whatever it was, I want you to understand that failure is an inevitable part of life, even for the most successful people on the planet. In fact, it is a necessary step on the path to success.”

These were the words of Jim Harshaw Jr., a man who has been at his lowest and still fought his way back to top because he was able to glean the secrets of the most accomplished individuals in the world today. 

His lesson rings loud and clear. It isn’t that great people don’t experience failure, it’s that they learn the right lessons from it and use that experience to become a greater and better version of themselves. 

To fear failure is to fear change. Yet, it is only through constantly changing, improving and fine-tuning your knowledge and skill set you can truly achieve the goals you’ve laid out for yourself. 

The founder of IBM, Tom Watson captured this sentiment perfectly when he made the famous statement, “If you want to double your success rate, double your failure rate.”

This statement remains ever true because it fully captures the fact that success isn’t a destination, it’s a journey. A big part of that journey is failure. When seen for what it is, failure isn’t to be feared but embraced. This is because more than anything else, it helps you see the world through clearer eyes. It pushes you to the peak and compels you to draw on the reservoir of resources nestled deep within you to be the best you can be. 

Success alone is empty. It is failure that puts it in the right perspective. 

The Winning Mindset

In this eye-opening TED Talk on failure, Jim advocates the necessity of failure for cultivating a winning mindset. 

The ability to not just take failure in stride but turn it into a driving force to accomplish your goals is what distinguishes the truly successful from the average individual. 

Jim strongly believes that failure isn’t to be feared, avoided or despised. Rather, it’s to be embraced and celebrated because it often serves as a clear indicator you’re doing something right. 

This popular TED Talk on failure emphasizes the need to cultivate the right mindset towards failure. Learning the right lessons from a failed attempt and using that to leverage your success on the next attempt is the ultimate trick to how successful people stay successful. 

The results are worthy of envy but the process can be trying and demanding. Preparing for all that failure has to throw at you and resolving to stay your course is how you turn things around in your personal and business life.

This talk, considered by some the all-time best TED Talk on failure, and what it has to offer you are worth hearing. Listen to it and grasp the message in what was said and the many more things left unsaid. Realize the potential inherent in failure and channel that energy toward putting your life firmly on the path to success. 

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