The Reality of Failure

49 replies
People often talk about the huge failure rate in IM, as though it makes IM really difficult.

But the thing is, everything has a huge failure rate.

Most people who go to college will never get a job in the field their degree relates to.

Those who do will usually not stay in it.

Five years after graduating college, 60% of men and 90% of women are not working full-time in a field where their degree is relevant. That's 75% failure. (The gender difference is primarily because women are often interested in college as self-improvement rather than career preparation, and never have any intention of getting a job in the field they study.)

Twenty years after graduation, those numbers get even more dramatic: 80% of men and 98% of women aren't working full-time in their chosen field. That's a near-90% failure rate.

And that's an average across ALL fields.

So all we're really saying when we talk about IM's 97% failure rate is that IM is just short of 30% harder than the average career path. (30% of 75% = 22.5% + 75% = 97.5%) That's honestly not so huge.

Plus, when we say someone "failed" at IM, it's not always a failure per se - a lot of would-be IMers walk away to get a "real" job like they used to have, which isn't exactly failure.

So it shouldn't be particularly scary or impressive that IM has this high failure rate. After all, everything does. Success at IM... when you really look at it... usually comes through failure at something else.
#failure #reality
  • Profile picture of the author doshmachine
    I see failure as a lesson learned in my eyes! You have to stay positive. Ask yourself why something failed and you are one step closer to success - not one step further back! Like Confucius said "a man who never makes mistakes, never makes anything".
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  • Profile picture of the author Elmar
    The failure rate for the tryouts to NBA is something like 99.6%. Maybe IM is not as hard as professional sport ?
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  • Profile picture of the author Jase1977
    As long as you learn from your failure and not repeat it, can you succeed. If you keep failing at the same thing over and over, that's the definition of insanity.
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  • Profile picture of the author FrankieTP2
    Very good reasoning Caliban!

    And we fail everyday from the smallest to the biggest and most significant goals we put ourselves in front of. I think of every goal as a challenge with a prize in mind.

    It gives me the drive to face failures with a smile. If I fail I have a good reason to get up, make adjustments and go at it with everything I've got once again.

    People don't fail. People just quit trying to win.
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  • Profile picture of the author mojojuju
    Originally Posted by CDarklock View Post


    Five years after graduating college, 60% of men and 90% of women are not working full-time in a field where their degree is relevant. That's 75% failure.
    I don't think that's necessarily indicative of failure. Many people I know earned their degree and did have opportunities in their field of study but for various reasons chose to work in different fields.

    A college friend of mine for instance earned a degree in restaurant & hotel management. He had his hopes set on running a big restaurant after graduation. But just a few years after graduating I caught up with him and he wasn't working in a hotel or a restaurant. He was selling Peterbilt trucks and doing very well at it. His interests changed, but that's not failure.
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    • Profile picture of the author CDarklock
      Originally Posted by mojojuju View Post

      I don't think that's necessarily indicative of failure.
      Yeah, I kind of said that a little farther along in the post.
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    • Profile picture of the author Cataclysm1987
      Originally Posted by mojojuju View Post

      I don't think that's necessarily indicative of failure. Many people I know earned their degree and did have opportunities in their field of study but for various reasons chose to work in different fields.

      A college friend of mine for instance earned a degree in restaurant & hotel management. He had his hopes set on running a big restaurant after graduation. But just a few years after graduating I caught up with him and he wasn't working in a hotel or a restaurant. He was selling Peterbilt trucks and doing very well at it. His interests changed, but that's not failure.
      Which is kinda like saying, if you go back to your day job is that necessarily failure?

      Well, no. At least you have a job, so technically you have failed at life, but whatever you went to college for you basically failed at doing if you ended up somewhere else, regardless of how good the opportunity was.
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  • Profile picture of the author Simon Ashari
    We can look at your college example and ask ourselves whether some of these graduates got jobs in other fields.

    This may not be a failure if those jobs are higher paying than a job they could have taken in their field.

    Many people use education as a signaling tool to tell prospective employers that they have the ability to commit to something for 3-4+ years. Or that they have the intellectual capacity to learn.
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  • Profile picture of the author World Marketing
    Failure is for those who do not try hard enough!
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  • Profile picture of the author David Sneen
    Failure is falling seven times and getting up six.

    Never give up!
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  • Profile picture of the author YasirYar
    Personally, I always tell people the same thing -- failure is a part of success. If you are willing to fail and accept that you'll fail at times then ultimately you will succeed. Most people just aren't willing to stick to it long enough to get past the failures.
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  • Profile picture of the author wakins4u
    Where did you get your statistics from?
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  • Profile picture of the author marketinguk
    I have seen statistics from my mentor Alex Jeffreys and he shows that most people drop out of internet marketing within the first 6 to 9 months. This is really incredible to me as how can you expect to make and grow a sustainable business and expect it to work instantly. If i would tell everyone the amount of time and money i have wasted i'm sure i'm not alone here. The main thing is to learn from the msitakes and work out where to improve. If you feel you need more than this then do what i have done and pay for a mentor like ALex to assist you in your goals. The only thing that can hold you back overall is not taking action and giving up!
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  • Profile picture of the author thebitbotdotcom
    I like your take on things CDarklock.

    You always have great insight and great perspective.

    Currently, I do not make a living with IM, but at the same time, that is not my goal.

    I consider IM an essential skill-set, just like SEO is a skill-set to IM.

    I have a day job and coming here and learning IM principles I feel has given and continues to give me an advantage in the non-virtual world.

    These two world are coming ever closer and those of us who learn the technology and psychology of IM and can use them in virtual and non-virtual settings stand out.

    Whenever we have meetings, conference calls, or what have you, all of these principles gel and change the way you talk, the terminology you use and as I am now learning how people look at you.

    I work for a major chemical company and I feel that IM principles have given me a big advantage.
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  • Profile picture of the author BIG Mike
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    • Profile picture of the author Tom B
      Banned
      Originally Posted by BIG Mike View Post

      In their minds, success will always escape them, simply because they're too busy chasing after a bar they've raised far too high.
      Big Mike, yeah, this "friend" needs to stop chasing bars and for crying out loud, drinking at high bars is just dangerous. You are bound to fall over sooner or later.
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  • Excellent post!!!! I have an MBA and it only gives me access to bankers and lawyers and who really wants to hang out with them?

    If you follow Thomas Edison logic, failure is just a successful way NOT to do something.

    The shampoo bottle says lather, rinse, repeat. In life, its try, fail, don't repeat!!!!
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  • Profile picture of the author TestiVar
    There also seems to be a semantics problem. I'm still not exactly sure what this sub-culture means by "internet marketing", but it sure isn't what the words mean. This sub-culture teaches a lot of things that are just plain wrong. Once people realize that and leave this sub-culture, they attain success.

    They don't call themselves "internet marketers" anymore because they rejected the sub-culture in order to attain success. They now call themselves entrepreneurs, small business owners, dot com founders and all of the other labels that successful people doing almost the exact same thing do.

    That doesn't mean that "internet marketing" has a high failure rate. It simply means that those who find success who were once on this path don't use that label anymore. It's a self-defeating label since it associates you with newbies who practice some pretty dubious tactics at times.
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  • Profile picture of the author art72
    Great Post!

    Having walked away from IM 4 months ago to establish an 'offline' service based business, I initially considered 'walking away for awhile' as a HUGE FAIL. But looking back on all that I gained (knowledge wise) concerning internet marketing, affiliate networks, site design, mindset, etc... IM'ing still remains a major part of my offline business and the future expansion thereof.

    Perhaps that 'newbie' mindset (*as was my mistake) was/is to enter the IM world 'guns-a-blazing' and fuels the misconception that 1,000's of dollars will instantaneously flood our PayPal and bank accounts.

    Whilst it is possible with the right niche and experience, it takes a ton of time, effort, and money 'most' people cannot afford to invest. I wasn't afraid of the hard work, learning curve, nor did I quit per se... Instead, I ran out of time to achieve a level of success, and well; I needed MONEY!

    While my personal focus has changed regarding my 'business model' and marketing strategies, I can openly admit; it was easier for me to develop a service based business 'offline' with an instant return on my investment, then it was for me to earn consistent money online.

    However, with the knowledge gained, IM still resides at the 'front lines' of my business focus to build upon and expand into multiple streams of income, global markets, and knowledge based sales (*i.e. eBooks, tutorials, videos, dvd's, etc..) in the future.

    So in reality, I don't believe the time and money invested into IM was a failure at all.

    In theory, I see it as; a short-term investment of knowledge with long-term 'potential' returns.
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  • Profile picture of the author ShayB
    Originally Posted by CDarklock View Post

    Five years after graduating college, 60% of men and 90% of women are not working full-time in a field where their degree is relevant. That's 75% failure. (The gender difference is primarily because women are often interested in college as self-improvement rather than career preparation, and never have any intention of getting a job in the field they study.)
    Are you sure about that?

    Sometimes women have every intention of getting a job in their field, but kids have a way of changing that.

    Just sayin'.

    Of course, the ability to work from home and have a flexible schedule is one of the things that makes IM so attractive to moms. (Along with other work at home opportunities.)
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    • Profile picture of the author CDarklock
      Originally Posted by ShayRockhold View Post

      Sometimes women have every intention of getting a job in their field, but kids have a way of changing that.
      Men aren't allowed to talk about such things. That's why I have to make a vague statement about a vague frequency instead of actually discussing what the statistics show women are doing.
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      "The Golden Town is the Golden Town no longer. They have sold their pillars for brass and their temples for money, they have made coins out of their golden doors. It is become a dark town full of trouble, there is no ease in its streets, beauty has left it and the old songs are gone." - Lord Dunsany, The Messengers
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  • Profile picture of the author Hanneke
    Well, quiet motivating (or must I say discouraging?) numbers.

    Am I glad I never made it into university! Now I totally prefer to work and create my own study in the IM than graduate in the real world. :-)
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  • Profile picture of the author Randall Magwood
    I've failed so many times with IM that it makes my head spin. But i continue to do it because of the reality of the situation. I hate a job, and i'm more likely to make $3,000 a month online than i would to get a promotion at work. So keep trucking on and dont give up.
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    • Profile picture of the author rmolina88
      Originally Posted by Randall Magwood View Post

      I've failed so many times with IM that it makes my head spin. But i continue to do it because of the reality of the situation. I hate a job, and i'm more likely to make $3,000 a month online than i would to get a promotion at work. So keep trucking on and dont give up.
      Right on. The dehumanization of having to work for someone else and seeing them exploit you makes me sick to my stomach.
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      • Profile picture of the author chris1093
        I think that before many people get seriously involved In IM they have a very jaded view that its all about scamming people out of their hard earned money. That underlying view probably helps attribute to the search for a push button get rich quick scheme and dooms them from the start. Its hard to truly succeed in anything when your heart is not in it
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        • Profile picture of the author CDarklock
          Originally Posted by chris1093 View Post

          I think that before many people get seriously involved In IM they have a very jaded view that its all about scamming people out of their hard earned money.
          This is primarily because people are more familiar with Friedrich Engels (co-author of the Communist Manifesto and expositor of the alienation and oppression of the working class) than with Friedrich Hayek (developer of the Austrian business cycle theory which some believe accurately models the current housing and economic crises in America).

          Basically, the socialist notion is that a crisis like we face now is caused by evil, nasty, conspiratorial efforts by capitalists to screw the little guy. As though the rich have said "hey, let's make all those poor people suffer while we make money, because it's no fun to be rich unless you make people miserable."

          The free market notion is that the crisis stems from an inevitable series of decisions stemming from economic incentives that cannot be controlled. As though the rich have said "hey, let's make a lot of money... oh crap, what's happening? Quick fix it. No, that's not right, fix it again. Dammit! WTF is going on?!"

          Engels thought the rich were evil; Hayek thought the rich were stupid. Having spoken to several rich people in my lifetime, I'm inclined to agree with Hayek.
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          "The Golden Town is the Golden Town no longer. They have sold their pillars for brass and their temples for money, they have made coins out of their golden doors. It is become a dark town full of trouble, there is no ease in its streets, beauty has left it and the old songs are gone." - Lord Dunsany, The Messengers
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          • As a veteran of Usenet et al I'm sure you know this, but perhaps the youngsters haven't heard it:

            Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.

            fLufF
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            • Profile picture of the author CDarklock
              Originally Posted by fluffythewondercat View Post

              As a veteran of Usenet et al I'm sure you know this, but perhaps the youngsters haven't heard it:

              Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.
              Hanlon's Razor. I live much of my life by that law.
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              "The Golden Town is the Golden Town no longer. They have sold their pillars for brass and their temples for money, they have made coins out of their golden doors. It is become a dark town full of trouble, there is no ease in its streets, beauty has left it and the old songs are gone." - Lord Dunsany, The Messengers
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          • Profile picture of the author fin
            If you simplify it, making money on the Internet should be really, really easy.

            All you need is to put a link (affiliate) on your website which connects to another website.

            Now you just need to spend the next 10 years testing everything you can until you see a sale in your Clickbank account.

            Then, rinse and repeat.

            What could be easier than that in the offline world.
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  • Profile picture of the author mikelukjaniec
    The failure rate in Internet Marketing is highlighted because of the 'Get Rich Quick' mentality that is often hyped in advertising. A lot of people are attracted by the message but are not prepared to do the work, that is always necessary to achieve success!
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  • Profile picture of the author JaySG
    Failure is part of every success, most successful entrepreneurs have many failures before encountering their breakthrough. I mean yeah it's not easy, but at the same time is a great journey and very rewarding as well. In the end, it's all about never giving up and persisting even when things don't look that well.
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  • Profile picture of the author Lou Diamond
    Hello,
    how boring would it be if you were to succeed at everything that you do on the first try.
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  • Profile picture of the author Jere Kuisma
    I actually see IM as quite "easy" thing to do. Most methods are not secret and they are publicly available (or behind some rather small price tags compared to "real" education costs), it's just the matter of if you are willing to actually WORK on those and fail a couple times.
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  • Profile picture of the author Preeti
    It helps to remember that a "failure" isn't that unless you don't learn from it. Learn from your attempt and now you gotten smarter and more experienced to avoid it from happening again.
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    • Profile picture of the author Sean Doody
      What a cool post.

      It will be a great one to learn off and recite back to the parents when they insist I go to college and get a 'real' J.O.B. :p

      I say f**k that!

      As Henry Ford said,

      Failure is simply the oppurtunity to begin again,
      this time more intelligently

      Nice
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      • Profile picture of the author CDarklock
        Originally Posted by seanthewebguy View Post

        they insist I go to college
        I also recommend you go to college, if you can. College in your late teens and early twenties is an opportunity you don't get again. College in your thirties or forties is not the same, and a whole hell of a lot harder.

        Now, the real job thing... it depends. If you've never had a "real" job, you can't possibly connect authentically with an audience of people who have always had a "real" job. I recommend at least one six-month bout of working as a wage slave somewhere, just to know what it's really like. But if that's not your target market, you could skip that.
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        "The Golden Town is the Golden Town no longer. They have sold their pillars for brass and their temples for money, they have made coins out of their golden doors. It is become a dark town full of trouble, there is no ease in its streets, beauty has left it and the old songs are gone." - Lord Dunsany, The Messengers
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        • Profile picture of the author Sean Doody
          Originally Posted by CDarklock View Post

          If you've never had a "real" job, you can't possibly connect authentically with an audience of people who have always had a "real" job. I recommend at least one six-month bout of working as a wage slave somewhere, just to know what it's really like.

          I've had my fair share of crap jobs.

          I've done it all from construction to demolition and all for pennies.

          Now that's some back-breaking work my friend.

          So, I guess all thing's considered I really can relate to an audience who have always had a real job.

          I mean, are you ever too young to want a better life for yourself?

          Do you HAVE to go through 10-20 years of slaving away for a crap wage before you can desire something better for yourself??

          Hell no, and I don't intend to.........
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          • Profile picture of the author CDarklock
            Originally Posted by seanthewebguy View Post

            I've had my fair share of crap jobs.
            And I recommend having at least one such job in your life that you hold onto for six months.

            If you've done that, great. If you haven't, I'm not the boss of you and you can do whatever you want.

            Same with college. I recommend you spend at least two years in college before you turn 25. You don't have to get a degree, you don't have to study whatever it is you want to do for the rest of your life, and you don't ever need to get a job doing what you studied.

            But if you don't want to, it's your life. You can do whatever you want.
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            "The Golden Town is the Golden Town no longer. They have sold their pillars for brass and their temples for money, they have made coins out of their golden doors. It is become a dark town full of trouble, there is no ease in its streets, beauty has left it and the old songs are gone." - Lord Dunsany, The Messengers
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        • Profile picture of the author John Lenaghan
          Originally Posted by CDarklock View Post

          College in your thirties or forties is not the same, and a whole hell of a lot harder.
          Especially if you enjoy it the way you would when you're 20ish.

          John
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      • Profile picture of the author Jarvis Edwards
        The only true failure, is quitting.
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  • Profile picture of the author TaiZejan
    The reality of failure is real and powerful. It all depends on how you approach it. It is easy to say, failures make you successful, however if you are anything like me then you have failed fantastically at one point or another.

    It is an extremely humbling experience, especially for type A's who's recognition of failure is hard enough.

    However, once you recognize the failure and calling it what it is I've found that getting past it, and moving on to projects that can turn to success much easier / quicker.

    Failure is very much real. Most people in IM will fail, but will they continue to live in denial that their venture failed? Or will the recognize it, re strategize and make another, more insightful go at it again?
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  • Profile picture of the author sofus
    Great Post, and a lot of interesting comments.

    The headline: "The Reality of Failure" could only be written by a reflected person. One of the reasons, in my opinion, is that it "opens up"

    Reality and failure, wow

    I guess - response to the failure

    In the book "How to sell anything" by Harry Brown, in my opinion – worth reading, he says in his Prologue: "If you’ve read other selling books, you’re probably tired of the false promises that never quite work out. You’re probably tired of being told “you can do it if you just believe you can.”"

    Further down he says: "But I’m not going to guarantee your success. I’m not going to tell you that you can’t miss ~ because that would be unrealistic. For it depends on you and your willingness to reorient your attitude to see things as they really are."

    A lot of people have heard this quote by Zig Ziglar: "If you help enough people get what they want, you will get what you want."

    or


    "When it is obvious that the goals cannot be reached, don't
    adjust the goals, adjust the action steps."

    ~Confucius

    Personally I do not love failure, but I have recognized that I fail a lot. I'm sure failure has made me who I am, not scared – maybe a more listening person, and with that I have gotten more success. Aftermath, since we are into statistics: 78% failure and 22% success;-)

    Failure or Fail U? Re (sponse)
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  • Profile picture of the author Genycis
    Failure is self-defeat. If you knock yourself on the floor before you give yourself a chance to walk, then you've failed. If you've not learned anything from your experience at all, then that is failure.
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    • Profile picture of the author sofus
      Well said Genycis
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  • Profile picture of the author Genycis
    Thanks Sofus... just how I see it more or less. If I didn't achieve the goals I set out to do, as long as I've learned from them, whether that meant trying alternatives, or going a different direction altogether, I've learned something so it wasn't really failure, just a lesson and experience. However, if I knocked myself down and said "I can't do IM, it's impossible" before even trying to put something into action, then yup, I have indeed failed.
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    -- Absorbing & implementing. Need hip hop beats for your business needs? Hit me up!
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  • Profile picture of the author sofus
    @ Genycis This evening I have been coaching 25 young girls and boys in how to ski-jump. It was their first time "ski-jumping", but not skiing. Each and all of them had to start. They overcame fairs, individually. Falling - is a natural part of it, crying – up the hill, and then try again. What a wonderful two intense hours.
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    • Profile picture of the author Ben Armstrong
      I'm still yet to see where this 95% is backed up by evidence anywhere but it's a good post none the less.

      I was lucky enough that before coming into the IM world I had some mentors who had helped me pretty much eliminate the notion of failure in my own mind. You either keep doing something until you reach your goal or you stop.
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  • Profile picture of the author paul_1
    Failures are really part of success. The way you see it and take action on it is what matters most. Also, patience plays a big factor.
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  • Profile picture of the author cathyzxy
    If we can learn something from failure, it's treasure for us.
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