Successful Failure

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Failure is in the air!

Banks, businesses, jobs, family mortgages, states—so much of America and elsewhere teeters on the brink of collapse.

In your own life maybe you've made some bad decisions and "have fallen flat on your face" sometimes too. During these awful moments of failure we can reach clarity, find motivation and catapult ourselves to success.

Fear of failure

But we live in a society that fears failure. Let's face it, when our efforts aren't good enough or we're facing the negative consequences of our actions, it can hurt. Our egos take a hit, our so-called "self-esteem" wavers and times can get tough.

To avoid the pain, "experts" develop all types of practices and policies including these:

  • Not using red ink to correct school papers.
  • Awarding trophies to everyone, even last place.
  • Passing students to the next level without skill mastery.
  • Spending money to fix problems caused by overspending.

Does avoidance really help?

Pain beats the alternative—more pain later!

Consider the General Motors Corporation. A few months ago it was inconceivable to let GM go into bankruptcy. "They're too big to fail." However equity analyst Dan Greenhaus told FOX Business his blunt opinion of the company. "It's run poorly. They don't know how to make money. They're not competitive…"

Yet, in the U.S. federal bailout frenzy, the government loaned billions of dollars of taxpayer money (that future kids/grandkids haven't even earned yet) to avoid the consequences of such a large company failing—without fixing any of the root problems.

Now GM still has to go bankrupt (which will allow the company to address the issues and restructure), but has the added burden of being billions of dollars more in the hole.

It's like a student being depressed because she can never seem to get passing grade on an exam, so she drinks alcohol to cope. It only dulls the pain of failure for a short time and makes future success more difficult. She still has to deal with the root causes of the original problem (missing class, not enough studying, lack of sleep, etc.) and now deal with all the effects of the alcohol too.

When weak is strong

The sting of failure presents a great opportunity to find clarity and the motivation to do better. If we never felt unsuccessful, would we truly desire to push ourselves to improve? We must understand our strengths and weaknesses in order to succeed.

When we feel totally in control in life, it's easy to think that we don't need help or guidance. But when failure weakens us, we're in an open state of mind that God can work with to help us. Then when we are weak, we are strong (2 Corinthians 12:9-10).

As our loving Creator, God is always there to forgive us and strengthen us, no matter how many bad decisions or failures. We can pray for God to help us do better tomorrow and avoid settling for mediocrity. He wants us to succeed!

Turning failure into success can become a good habit. Read how in "The Power of Habits."

Abraham Lincoln, Henry Ford, Walt Disney and numerous others all failed repeatedly, even experiencing bankruptcy before they ever made it big. Failure and success are unavoidably linked.

May we learn from others' mistakes, accept divine guidance and pray for wisdom. Then as vertical thinkers we can make the most out of failing moments and maximize the successes! VT