"This thing we call 'failure' is not the falling down, but the staying down."
— Mary Pickford
"Recently I received a phone call – a recorded message actually – that told me that my services were no longer needed at the place where I had a part-time job. I enjoyed the work I did there and looked forward to it. Now, quite suddenly, I had been dropped.
"The administrator who called was clear and kind; I could tell he was sorry, and he said so in a gentle way. The reasons he gave were understandable; I would have come to the same conclusion, given the circumstances.
"But the thought that came to me immediately – not thought really, but feeling – was, I have failed. What did I do wrong? I've been terminated, sent packing, dismissed. I've failed!
"Well, yes. . . . But have I failed, really? There's a fine line here. On the one hand, the fact is they let me go. So in a sense, yes, I have failed. I would feel somehow dishonest, not allowed my truth, no matter how unwelcome, if someone tried to tell me that I didn't in some way fail. On the other hand, trying something, failing, then trying again, is the way to most good and great deeds. Trying again – that's the key.
" 'America's Sweetheart,' Mary Pickford, the plucky film star of the 20s, tells it clearly: Failure is not falling down but staying down.
"Thus I guess the question for me is clear: That's over, how can I try again?
"Think of something you consider a failure. Can you – or did you – get up and go on? The only failure is staying down."