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Why Failure Matters

November 8, 2012 — 4 Comments

I am a failure.

You know those contests where people have to guess how many M&Ms are in a mason jar? Well I’d be willing to bet my failures would add up to ten dozen of those jars. I’m just getting started, too.

I am amazed by the idea of failure. I remember so many failures in my life, it still hurts thinking about them.

Why does failure feel so bad? I love failure for a good reason. It causes a person to look deep into their soul to ask the deep questions of “why” and a “do I have what it takes?”

There are times in life when I failed and quit.

There are times in life when I failed and kept going.

Both of those times hurt. Sometime early in life I was being told to keep going during these times. I didn’t really know what that meant but the more I failed, the more I wanted to get through that emotion of personal disappointment. It took victory upon victory to see what the failures meant.

Great stories begin with failures and end with greatness. Pushing through failures produces the character that will ultimately take you on the journey of being a better person. It is like a marathon runner who hits ‘the wall’ midway through a race. The pain becomes so excruciating, that eventually your body tells you to stop. Some choose to stop. Some chose to continue. Those that continue, find something inside of them that pushes through the pain. By pushing through the pain, euphoria takes over and you suddenly float forward to finish.

In the midst of pain, we discover what matters most. It is a process but it awakens us to what life is supposed to be. The pain of failure and the process causes us to cry out to God for help. Pick up your Bible because it is full of men and women who have failed. Grace in the form of Jesus picked them up so they could keep moving. They were stronger, bolder, and humbler because of this grace. They understood what the pain meant to push through.

My hero, Winston Churchill, faced failure on numerous public occasions during his career: He failed political races, was responsible for military blunders in World War I, was marginalized in Parliament between the wars, and lost battles as Prime Minister during World War II. Despite winning World War II, he was voted out of office. Did he stop? No he kept going and became Prime Minister again years later. His words carry me today.

Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.

Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.

I am imaging the day when one of my daughters come to me full of some sort of worry. They will share their fear and it will be about losing a game, not making the cut, failing a test, or perhaps feeling rejected by a boy. I will hug them. I will tell them I understand some of their hurt. I will even cry with them. I will help pick them up and tell them to look up.

I will tell them about Winston Churchill. I will tell them about life’s marathon. I will tell them about my failures.I will share the Bible with them. I will tell them that it will be okay. I will tell them to never give up.

 

What has failure taught you in life?

Any favorite quotes or Bible verses that help you through failure?

 

Here are the Top 10 Caddyshack Lines you will hear around the office today.

1.  You’re the keynote speaker at a trade conference and your competitor yells out…

“Miss it Noonan! Miss it!”

2.  You develop this amazing new product and share it with your group. Someone comments…

“Oh, this is the worst-looking hat I ever saw. What, when you buy a hat like this I bet you get a free bowl of soup, huh?  Oh, it looks good on you though.”

3.  The college intern walks into a brainstorm meeting, throws out a good idea and says this…

“Cinderella story. Outta nowhere. A former greenskeeper, now, about to become the Masters champion. It looks like a mirac… It’s in the hole! It’s in the hole! It’s in the hole!”

4.  You’re on a sales call and you hand the client an invoice for the services. The client says…

“Oh, uh, there won’t be any money, but when you die, on your deathbed, you will receive total consciousness.”

5.  You’re at the vending machine wondering what to get and someone walks up and says…

“How about a Fresca?”

6.  You’re receiving some coaching from your boss about a difficult situation at work.  The conversation goes like this…

Boss: You take drugs, Danny?
You: Every day.
Boss: Good. Then what’s your problem?
You: I don’t know.

7.  You’re totally screwing up a presentation to your team…

“Just be the ball, be the ball, be the ball. You’re not being the ball Danny.”

8.  Your client walks into your office, takes a look around.  The conversation goes like this…

Client: This your place, Carl?
You: Yeah, whatta ya think?
Client:  It’s really… awful.
You: Well, I got a lot of stuff on order. You know… credit trouble.

9.  A friend just bombs a TPS report they turn in and are looking to you for support.  You say…

“You’re not, you’re not good, Al. You stink.”

10.  You arrive at the hotel during a business trip.  You ask the receptionist “This place got a pool?”  Your friend next to you says.

“Pool and a pond… Pond be good for you.”

Bonus: You and your co-worker are about to go on a sales call and the conversation goes like this…

Your friend: You’ve got to win this hole.
You:  I kinda thought winning wasn’t important
Your friend:  Me winning isn’t. You do.
You: Great grammar.