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Failing Enough to Succeed

Judd Apatow and wife
Judd Apatow and wife

Have you failed enough to really succeed? Go back and re-read that question... Have you failed enough to really succeed? Of course, you always hear about the success stories, but what you don't always hear about are the stumbles that an entrepreneur, or artist -- or anyone -- makes before they finally make it big. I write in my book, you cannot be afraid to fail, else you have already failed. For Judd Apatow, his career is a lesson in this "failure" formula.

What's most inspiring about Judd Apatow is the number of times he's put himself out there before finally finding success. He's written and produced numerous critically acclaimed shows such as "The Ben Stiller Show" and "Freaks and Geeks" -- both unfortunately cancelled after only a short run. Judd admits it was frustrating along the way, but it all ended up being learning experiences. He always knew he had something good; it just wasn't the right time or place. That's really what kept him going.

Throughout his career, he was smart enough to do two things: first, he never gave up, and second, he always surrounded himself with the best of the best in the comedy world. From interviewing stars like Jerry Seinfeld and Howard Stern on his high school talk show to rooming with Adam Sandler in LA, he always put himself in the mix.

Now, after his first mega-hit "40-Year Old Virgin and his incredibly funny new film Knocked Up, Judd Apatow has set the standard in the Hollywood comedy scene. With box office sales nearing $1 billion, this seems like only the beginning for this up-and-coming star director. But what we all must remember from his story is that if you fail once or fail fifteen times, if you know you have something good and you keep believing in yourself, success will find you.

Questions? Comments? donny@cnbc.com