Sunday, January 20, 2008

Why Do We Need Failure?

Today I got to thinking about why is it so common for monumental success to be proceeded by significant failure. I know some might argue that monumental success isn't always proceeded by failure, but I'd argue that while that might be true it's the exception and not the rule. When it comes to mortals, we always experience failure before we experience success. So with that concern out of the way...

Why is it common for one to experience failure before success, or rather longterm success? I don't know that I'm totally qualified to answer this question as I've only had minor failures, nothing major...yet. However, I think that failures, set backs, trials, challenges all cause us to take a deeper look at what is real and really important. To the person who has never lost money invested, it may be learning that money lost isn't the end of the world, even if it's everything they had. They can start again free of all the dead weight and restrictions their previous gains had put on them. The challenge demands creativity and ingenuity.

For most of us the lack of life demanding more out of us will mean we don't put forth any extra effort. Maybe it's just facing failure and realizing it's not that bad if you get back up and face it. I suppose the only time failure is really scary is when we fear it too much to get back up and face it again. When we choose to roll up in a corner and suck our thumb and replay how bad it is in our heads. That's when success doesn't follow failure.

I guess I need to revise my question to clarify that just experiencing failure doesn't mean that we'll see success.

We need to have learned something from the experience that we call failure. We need to learn what we don't really need to fear. We need to learn what leads to true failure and what leads to true success.

From a spiritual perspective, one could be tempted to give up when sin seems too big. Yet, true repentance when we sin brings us closer to our God and Savior. I know that when I really repent I feel greater confidence because I know better the Savior in whom I trust. That being said I don't recommend that anyone seek out failure as a means to success. Rather, I suggest that failure is not to be feared. It will show up without a doubt. And when it does, regardless of who or what invited it, the real characterization of failure comes from our response.

Do we give into it and allow it to have dominion over us?
Do we focus on placing blame on who or what invited it's arrival?
Do we shake off the fear that could blind and bind us?
Do we focus on a solution to the challenge that brought failure?
Do we go to work with all the creativity, ingenuity and perspiration we can muster?

I think that is exactly why monumental success is always proceeded by failure. Because failure can purify us of worthless fears and enhance all that is good in us if we let it.

I'm sure grateful for the challenges/failure opportunities I have had in my life so far! I'm fortunate to have been taught what has come out in this post today. To be honest I couldn't really tell you where it came from ...directly! I have a pretty good idea where it originated ;)

Now the challenge is to remember it quickly when failure rears it's head again so that instead of tripping on it as a stumbling block I can just step up on it to climb closer to my ultimate destination!

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