What tests are you going through right now? Is your life a mess? Do you feel like a victim? Nobody’s life is a chain of unbroken victories. The best of champions fail—sometimes frequently. We all make mistakes.
Learning how to handle failure is one of the most important life skills we can learn. The only difference between successful people and failures is learning how to turn every failure into a learning experience—a stepping stone to future success.
Your test can become your testimony; your mess your life’s message. It is possible to move from victim to a victor; from being overcome to an over-comer. One of the best pieces of advice I ever received when going through the hardest time of my life was “When you’re going through hell, don’t stop!”
Although the reasons for failure are numerous some of the most common causes are:
1. Not planning ahead. If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail. Remember Noah had to start building the ark long before it stared to rain.
2. Thinking we have “arrived.” In other words, the man who gets too big for his britches will be exposed in the end. One common denominator of successful people in all walks of life is that they never stop learning, growing, and trying new things.
3. Fear of taking risks. I believe fear of failure to be one of the leading causes of failure. We are so worried about what others might think of us if we fail that often we don not even try. Remember where the fruit is…out on the limb.
4. Quitting too soon. I believe it is always too soon to quit. Failure is never final. The current chapter of your life does not have to be the final chapter. What looks like your tombstone may be a stepping stone to something bigger and better. Remember, an oak tree is simply a little nut that refused to give up its ground.
Whether or not these are the causes of the failures currently plaguing you, learn from your experiences. At least you now know what does not work! Thomas Edison said, “Don’t call it a failure. Call it an education.”
Failure has its benefits. It shows us what does not work and can lead us to be more creative. Walt Disney was fired by a newspaper editor for lack of ideas, and he went bankrupt several times before he built Disneyland!
Sometimes failure forces us to reevaluate our lives. It can help us keep things in proper perspective. Proverbs 20:30 notes, “sometimes it takes a painful situation to make us change our ways” (TEV).
To become successful start accepting responsibility. Successful people don’t waste time blaming others. Be quick to share the credit and accept the blame. In 1974 after an 88 game winning streak, UCLA basketball lost to Notre Dame in a game they had led by 11 points. The next day headlines read, “Coach Wooden says, ‘Blame Me!”’ John Wooden was a winner.
Start focusing on the future. Do you know what you can do about your past? Absolutely nothing – except perhaps learn from it. Do not let the past spoil the present and pollute the future.
Keep pressing on!
Jim Reeve, is the senior pastor of Faith Community Church, CA, USA