Failure is often seen in a negative light and something of taboo. When we fail we haven’t succeeded. If we haven’t succeeded at whatever it is we have set our sights on achieving then what is the point? I have thought this and still need to remind myself that this idea of failure,that “if I fail/failed ‘here’ then I’ve failed at all aspects of my life”, simply is just not true. Failure is only final if we refuse to get back up. I’m going to say that again. Failure is only final, IF we refuse to get back up. “There is nothing wrong with getting knocked down, as long as you get right back up.”–Muhammad Ali
Pretty much any person, company, or cultivated idea has been a direct or indirect result of numerous failures or failed attempts to “get it right.” The light bulb. Penicillin. Apple Computers. Indoor plumbing (thank you to whoever didn’t stop when they initially failed at this modern marvel.) Ironically enough, Walt Disney was told when he first started out he lacked imagination and had no good ideas. The man who created an environment which has “imagineers” as a job title was told he lacked imagination. The major difference, I believe, between those who have success and those who don’t is somewhat simple. Those who have success have a relentless desire to get back up when they are knocked down. No matter how many times they’re told they won’t be good at things; no matter how many times their idea is told ‘no’; no matter how many external circumstances seem to be coming from all directions to get in their way…they choose to get back up. Every. Single. Time. You know you’ve heard or read this quote before, “It’s not whether you get knocked down, it’s whether you get up.”–Vince Lombardi.
So, if we can all agree there is potential for positive outcomes whenever we find ourselves failing, why is there this underlying or blatant negative response/reaction/aversion when we do, in fact, fail? Is it the cultural climate we currently find ourselves? Have you ever opened an app or your internet browser and found yourself having some feelings about other people’s posts? As you’re scrolling thru and only seeing the “highlights” you feel yourself second guessing your own abilities or your own value or your own worth? If we are not protecting our minds and hearts, we can begin to feel some sort of way about other people’s successes–even if those people are your friends. Maybe you begin to second guess your own abilities and possibly begin to focus more on your perceived failures rather than on the gifts you’ve been given and the skills you bring to the table. I know that I have allowed myself to fall victim to that slippery slope. The beauty of the world wide web is we have the ability to instantly gain access to information within seconds, but if we are not careful we can also begin to question our own abilities if we are not guarding our hearts and minds to focus on the race with our name on it that we have been called to run. (Hebrews 12:1)
Each of us is, has been, and will be equipped with all of the necessary talents and tools required to run the race God has set for us. What does that mean? Well, think of it this way. Each of us is running a race on a track. Whether you’ve actually run on a track or have seen them doing so on the Olympics, you know what a track looks like. It has about six lanes and runners are to remain within their own lane during the race–hence the “stay in your lane.” Each runner is running his or her own race at his or her own speed. Each runner has been given specific skills and abilities to run this race, but not every runner will win every time they get out of the starting blocks. We will fail at the race from time to time, but we will fail even more so if we are looking over at the person next to us and try to run their race. His or her race (purpose, goals, calling, etc.) is not our race. It never can be ours, nor should it be ours. God made you and I for a specific and unique purpose only we can fulfill. God made YOU for a specific and unique purpose that only YOU have the equally specific and unique skills, talents, gifts to fulfill. Think about that for a moment.
A while back I saw this video posted by none other than Will Smith and he was talking about this very subject-failure. I found it poignant because through his discussion he also began to encourage. He talked about embracing the failure. Through failure comes the lessons. Through lessons, comes experience. Through experience, comes knowledge. Through knowledge, comes change. ( Will Smith Failure Speech )Just think of it this way–if all inventors, composers, musicians, architects, artists, chefs, doctors, philosophers, etc. had stopped trying after their first “failure” what would the state be of the world today…
Embrace your failure. Learn from the experience. Change what you can. Get back up and try again.
Until next time…