Most success comes after many fails. For example:
- Angry Birds, the best-selling Apple App was software maker Rovio’s 52nd attempt at successful software in 8 almost-bankrupt years.
- James Dyson failed in 5,126 prototypes before perfecting his revolutionary vacuum cleaner.
- WD40 lubricant got its name because the first 39 experiments failed. WD-40 literally stands for “Water Displacement–40th Attempt.
The basic difference between successful people and the rest of us is that they’ve learned to fail well. They humbly embrace their mistakes, use them as opportunities to learn, and persevere until each shot got them nearer the bullseye.
- Apple founder Steve Jobs ascribes his success to reevaluating his life after three setbacks: dropping out of college, being fired from the company he founded, and being diagnosed with cancer.
- Michael Jordan said: “I have failed over and over and over again, and that is why I succeed.”
- The American chess master Bruce Pandolfini, who trains many young chess players, said: “At the beginning, you lose – a lot. The kids who are going to succeed are the ones who learn to stand it. A lot of young players find losing so devastating they never adapt, never learn to metabolize that failure and to not take it personally. But good players lose and then put the game behind them emotionally.”
- Philip Schultz wrote a book of poems about his writing failures. Entitled, Failure, it won a Pulitzer prize!
If we have learned to fail well:
- We will have realistic expectations of ourselves and our work.
- We will not soar too high on success, and we will not sink too deeply upon a setback.
- We will not resent or envy the “success” of others, nor will we get caught up in trying to imitate them.
- We will diligently and patiently labor in our vocations, gradually developing our talents and skills for God’s glory and the good of others.
- We will confess our failures, seek our Lord’s forgiveness, and pray for His re-directing guidance.
- We will emerge from our failures humbler and weaker, but wiser and happier too.
- Eventually, we will see how God can transform our ugly failures into something profitable and even beautiful.
As the Apostle Peter might say: “Sometimes, failure is the best thing that can happen to us.”