I'm much more impressed with a person who shoots for an A and fails and gets a C instead than the guy who aimed for a D because he knew he could hit it, and does. Failure is not the bad thing that we tend to think it is-at least not in the positive areas in our lives. Succeeding in becoming a drug addict is not the type of success anyone should shoot for.
Failure is the process by which we learn. As toddlers, we failed and failed in our attempts to walk. Our failure even brought pain as we fell down, bumped our heads, and wailed for mommy and daddy. But this process of failure teaches us a very important truth. As you fail, you learn more than you thought you would.
When a toddler fails in his efforts to walk, he also learns how to fall. Falling is part of life. We all fall, but when we do fall, it is important that we fall in such a way that we can get back up again. When you fall in life-a failure-you learn how to handle it with poise, dignity, and with the desire to get right back up again.
I pastor a Church and as such I do a lot of public speaking. I can't help but make mistakes. But instead of turning red, stammering around and apologizing profusely, which only embarrasses everyone else, I crack a joke about it. Everyone laughs and the failure is turned into a success. I've learned how to fall in public speaking! I can get right back up.
The Bible speaks of this. It says, 'A just man falleth seven times and riseth up again.' This man isn't just because he never fails. He is just because when he does fail, he gets back up! That is the key. Failure toughens you up and allows you to try again!
Imagine a person that has never suffered anything in life. He has never failed, he has never suffered a misfortune-he's never suffered anything. His ability to handle difficulties and trials is nil. He would be so weak and so ineffective that the first wisp of a storm or trial in his life will cause him to collapse. It is the failures in life that toughen us up, and makes us worth knowing.
Failure is only failure if it keeps you down. Quitting is the only true failure in life. A marriage is a success if they keep trying and learning from their mistakes. But if they quit, yes, it has failed. Imagine a toddler attempting to walk and falling down, and imagine that same toddler saying, 'Well, I tried this walking thing. I really did. But it's just not for me. I don't think I'm cut out to walk. Besides, it's dangerous, and I think that people who want to walk are crazy!' No parent would condone such an attitude! Yet we live such an attitude in our daily lives. Failure is only failure if you quit!
Failure can be very motivational! They say that the alley under Thomas Eddison's window was littered with hundreds and possibly thousands of his failed attempts to build a light bulb. When questioned about his failure he responded with something like this, "I now know a thousand ways not to build a light bulb." His failure drove him on to succeed!
But more than that, when we shoot for something we might fail at then we always go further and accomplish more than when we shoot for something we know we can succeed at. I'd rather shoot for the A and fail than succeed at the D because I knew I could succeed there. If I get a B or a C, I went further than I would have had I been scared to fail.
Failure is not the end. It is just the beginning. Go on, give it a try. So what if you fail! You have joined the human race.
Greg S. Baker is a Pastor, Counselor, and Author specializing in building and strengthening relationships.
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