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What Can An American Car in Cuba Teach Us About Failure?

Published on September 15, 2015 12:00 AM EST
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American Car + Cuba = Life Lessons?

After living in Cuba for nearly two years, I’m still amazed at the daily parade of classic American cars chugging by. But I was really excited recently after spotting a Ford Edsel, which I first heard about from one of my favorite people– Zig Ziglar.

Even if you’re not a classic car lover give me 3 minutes to explain why this is a big deal.

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The Edsel first rolled out of Ford’s factories in 1958. Ford was hoping this would be the ultimate luxury car that would destroy all competitors, redefine their brand, and allow them to make a strong comeback.

Unfortunately, the Ford Edsel is known as one of the biggest flops in automobile history. Sales were so disappointing that Ford stopped production less than 3 years after starting. Aside from costing more than other vehicles in its class, people said the front of the Edsel looked like a female body part. I’m not joking…

Ford Edsel – Havanna, Cuba 2015Total failure, right?

But we can thank the Edsel for so many things we take for granted today:

  • Seat belts
  • The speedometer
  • Warning lights for low oil level and engine overheating
  • Self-adjusting brakes
  • Child-proof rear doors

Oh yea and after all this they came out with something called The FORD MUSTANG, which is their best car ever!

Ford’s experience reminds me that even in our personal lives we can find breakthroughs in our failures. It’s impossible to be successful without feasting on failure first. But we need the right attitude first.

You can turn your failures into strengths if:

(1) You choose to learn from those struggles and failures.

(2) You don’t give up.

(3) You Fail More.

Thomas Edison was a beast! He said,

“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”

thomas edison quote

The fear of failure is what keeps so many of us caged like lions in a zoo. Without the chase and battle for survival, the zoo lion loses its roar. The same thing can happen to you. Without the thrill of the chase( risk taking), we become too comfortable and tame.

And Zig Ziglar is known for saying,

“Failure is an event and not a person.”

The advantage of failing is that it brings us closer to success (or the right path) than any other experience. But we have to embrace lessons we can learn from our biggest flops.  In the end, the biggest risk in life is staying comfortable.  I love what Dave Ramsey said,

“There’s no such thing as failing; there’s only learning.”

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