I find that if there is so much material written on dealing with failure that I almost understand it to be a fact of life. Every material on failure that I have come across, despite their innumerable perspectives, not only reminds me that the only way out of a failure is to rise above it but that it shall surely happen as I confront life’s conquests. Failure is as certain as my knowing that I will have to rise from bed to face the day.
It fascinates me to realize that failure happens to people who are actively pursuing a goal. Yet, I wonder about somebody who did nothing but stare at the wall the whole time. Would he or she have any fear of failure? Maybe from falling asleep at the job?
The drive towards a pursuit immediately presents with it that risk of failure, and as much as we try to make plans and build models to avoid failure, it tends to rear its ugly head on our blind side. Since it is impossible to consider every single possible threat to an achievement, it may be wise to build up personal reserves for when we have to deal with failure.
Another interesting observation that I come across is that failure also presents itself as a route to success. I have seen that many important discoveries attribute their successes to the failure(s) encountered along the way. What immediately comes to mind is the popular reference to Thomas Edison who failed 10,000 times before he finally invented the light bulb. Much as this remains a lesson to perseverance, we also know that every failure was an elimination that only got him closer to his success.
Closer to our time, there is Steve Jobs, who not only failed to graduate from college but was thrown out of Apple, a company he created. Then rose again to become a success in movie animation and returned to steer Apple to their success in mobile technology. Steve Jobs relates his later success to the downfalls he encountered. There are as many stories of people who have risen out of a failure to succeed again as there are experiences of success.
John Maxwell, in his book Failing Forward writes. “the less you venture out, the greater your risk of failure. Ironically the more you risk failure – and actually fail – the greater your chances of success.”
I find that the walk of a Christian into Spiritual maturity also presents us with similar principles. The Lord uses our difficult experiences to draw us into deeper revelation of Himself and later to strengthen others. It was from Peter’s denial of Christ that he rose to preach the first Gospel sermon to a hostile Jewish community and up to 3,000 turned away from a 1,500 year tradition and gave their lives to Christ.
Moses failed desperately from his initial attempt to save the Jews, but it led to a 40 year period in the desert that was his preparation to finally bring them salvation in God’s way. I believe it was Abraham’s failure in waiting for the first promise of a son that led to him obeying God in the more challenging test to present his son Isaac as a sacrificial lamb before God; a similitude of God giving His only Son, Jesus, as a sacrifice for the sins of all men.
Failure should therefore not be a place of sorrow in our life’s pursuits but the place of rejoicing as it only brings us closer to the success we have laid our hearts onto. I believe Myles Munroe, who once said, “the greatest tragedy in life is not death but life without the purpose”.
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