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success and failure

An old Russian proverb states, “Success has many fathers while failure is an orphan.”

Nearly everyone I’ve met wants to be successful — though the definition of success may vary, the desire is there.  I’ve met few people who aspire to be failures.

Because of this, there is a great temptation to take credit where none is deserved.  When an idea goes well, it’s everyone’s idea.  “I knew that would work.”  Of course, at the time they may have thought it was the craziest idea out there.

On the other hand, when an idea or project fails, it’s like dropping a skunk in the middle of a party — everyone scatters.  No one wants to own the smell.

This is where great leaders (and spouses and parents and coaches) stand out.  They are content to let others get the credit and are willing to accept the blame.  Perhaps the most courageous act of leadership isn’t to own the good ideas but the bad ones.

If failure had a few more fathers, success would have more children.