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“Errors are the portals of discovery.” James Joyce, Ulysses

Things to Think About

By Pepper de Callier

“Errors are the portals of discovery.”  James Joyce, Ulysses

When I speak to university students and young professionals, I am often asked, usually by a professor or event organizer, to address the topic of failure in my remarks.  “Why?”, I ask.  “They don’t understand that it’s not the end of the world to have a setback or a failure,” is a common response.  I have written quite a bit about failure in my newspaper column and books—my own failures as well as others—and, the key lessons in every error, setback, or failure are always the same: what did you learn from it and how will that change your behavior and approach the next time?  Failures can teach us so much, if we just take the time reflect as opposed to assigning blame to ourselves, circumstances, or to others. Failures can teach not only about perspective—how to approach something differently—but our reaction to failure helps us see who we really are and what we need to work on to further develop ourselves such as resilience, patience, discipline, and acceptance, to name a very few.  So, the next time you experience something that feels like a failure or a setback, stop, step back, remember Joyce’s words and use them to move yourself to the next level of being the best you you can be.

Till next time…

About the Author: Pepper de Callier is one of the most respected senior executive coaches and authorities on leadership in Europe. Learn more about him at 


Things to Think About Series by Pepper de Callier:

Things to Think About (By Pepper de Callier)
Who you are speaks so loudly, I can’t hear a word you’re saying
The secret to success is to maintain enthusiasm between failures
When you are the anvil, hold you still.  But, when you are the hammer, strike your fill
Success is getting what you want.  Happiness is wanting what you get
I am not an Athenian, I am not a Greek, I am a citizen of the world
When I’m afraid of losing, I never win
Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear - not absence of fear
Our greatest freedom is the freedom to choose our attitude
The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, ... 
How hard it is, sometimes, to trust the evidence of one's senses! How reluctantly the mind consents to reality.
We don't see things as they are. We see things as we are
It is not the mountain we conquer, but ourselves 
If you believe everything you read, better not read 
People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care
Winning is as much about attitude as aptitude especially when the chips are down 
The human mind treats a new idea the same way the body treats a strange protein; it rejects it.
Doubt is not a pleasant condition, but certainty is absurd 
If you can't explain it to a six-year-old, you don't understand it yourself
We don’t regret the risks we took and failed. We regret the risks we failed to take 
What is a cynic? A man who knows the price of everything and the value of nothing  
Things to Think About - We become the choices we make in life 
You are the average of the five people you choose to spend the most time with 
Things to Think About: Luck is a dividend of sweat 
The truth will set you free, but first it will piss you off


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