by Dr Michael Norwood
The president of my college gave the best speech any
luminary ever could have at my graduation. Addressing the
hundreds of students, he said that now that we were
graduating, our success in life no longer depended on our
I.Q., but rather on our F.Q. – our Failure Quotient; how
many times we could be knocked down but keep getting back up
and slowly moving forward.
I don’t know if any of my fellow graduates remembered those
words, but I never forgot them. I have seen over and over
again in my life and in the lives of others how a high F.Q.
is the key to success – the one factor that all people of
accomplishment have in common.
Having a high Failure Quotient is a paradox; we aren’t
accustomed to equating failure with success. When we think
of super-winners or super-successful people – whether they
be superstar athletes like Michael Jordan, renowned
politicians like Rudy Giuliani, or famed entrepreneurs like
Ross Perot or Walt Disney – we usually think of them in the
lap of luxury, at the top of the world, and at the height of
ease and power.
Yet Michael Jordan is known as the greatest basketball
player of all time for one thing: his ability to “turn on”
in the fourth quarter; not the first, second or third
quarter, mind you. But in the fourth quarter, when his team
is often down, when things are most crucial, and when lesser
players in sports – and more passive people in life – are
ready to throw in the towel.
Everyone knows Rudy Giuliani as one the heroes of September
11th, the man who mobilized his city, and lifted our country
and the world up out of the grip of fear surrounding one of
the most traumatic events in history. Few people remember
that just a short time before September 11, 2001, Rudy
Giuliani’s future had been discounted. He had to withdraw
from the New York Senate race because of a diagnosis of
prostate cancer. This was followed by a very public and
messy divorce splashed across every newspaper column in the
country and jibed at by every radio and T.V. talk show host
Now ask yourself, on a scale of 1 to 100, at what level is
Rudy Giuliani’s Failure Quotient? How about Michael
Jordan’s? And most importantly, how about yours?
When we get a rejection or have a setback, it s very hard
not to feel at least momentarily thrown off course. Yet I
believe that a major benefit people receive who have gone
through difficult life challenges is that no matter what
other daily challenge they face, they can measure it against
the larger life adversity they ve overcome, and put it into
its proper perspective. Whether you ve been through a
serious illness, loss of a loved one, divorce, or have been
a victim of violence, the rest of your life you can benefit
by using that experience to weigh everything else you face
Here s a simple exercise that will make moving forward
toward your goals and getting past obstacles, rejections,
setbacks, and disappointments exactly one hundred times
1) Before you start out on any project, whether it be
seeking a customer if you re in sales, seeking a publisher
if you re a writer, or seeking a mate if you re single, take
a blank piece of lined paper and number each line 1 through
100. Make 2 columns if you need to as well as using both
sides of the sheet.
2) Got it done? Now make multiple photocopies of this form
for future use. (It s a long life. . .)
3) Now set out to do your goal or task. When you receive
your first obstacle, rejection, disappointment or setback,
put a checkmark next to number 1. When you hit your second
obstacle, put a checkmark next to space number 2. The third,
a checkmark on space number 3, and so on.
Now, here s the most important part:
When you start your project or goal, expect it may take 100
attempts to accomplish it! No, this is not a negative
mindset. It simply acknowledges that you may need to try a
number of approaches before you get something to work, or
someone to accept you or your offer. Acknowledging
beforehand that you re ready to put your all into at least
100 tries gives you the mindset of unstoppability.
I was counseling a lady on the phone recently who was going
through a very complex legal struggle with an abusive ex-
husband. She had gone to a number of attorneys, all of whom
had told her she didn t have a case. I knew her situation
and what kind of person she was. I also knew there were
attorneys out there who would be willing and capable of
helping this kind-hearted person, even if they would be hard
to find. She was feeling frustrated and defeated, so I told
her to make out such a 1-100 list. I also told her that I
would feel sorry for her only after she got to number 100
without finding an appropriate attorney.
Guess what? By the time she had gotten to number 3, she
found the perfect one! A “compassionate bulldog” who
immediately lifted 95 percent of the stress off her
shoulders of handling her incorrigible ex-husband.
What would her life been like had she not made that list?
How many candles would we be burning a day to light our
homes if Thomas Edison had stopped at failed experiment
number 10,000, 20,000 or 30,000 instead of going on to do
the 50,000 it required to invent the light bulb?
Don t hesitate. Make your photocopied 1-100 lists now. If
you don t accomplish a specific goal by attempt number 100,
give me a call. I ll honestly tell you how sorry I feel for
Dr. Michael Norwood is the author of “The 9 Insights of the
Wealthy Soul,” which has been featured in places such as The
Wall Street Journal and The Atlanta Constitution. To preview
his life-changing book series or to receive his beautiful
Photo-Poem Flash presentations, “The 12 Gifts of Life,” visit