Learning to Fail or Failing to Learn

asmanthinksWe can either learn from our failures or fail to learn. I’ve seen some people who gave their best and failed, and from that point forward they never made any effort to try again. Think about the persistence of Edison who saw his life experiences as a learning lab: “Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.”

Some of the main characters of the Bible, were close to success, but allowed their failure to define them:
• Abraham lied on several occasions.
• Moses had a fit of anger that kept him from entering the Promised Land.
• King Saul became so self-important that he engaged in work reserved for only a priest.
• Samson could subdue anything except his own desires.
• King David engaged in an adulterous affair.
• Peter failed time after time

The difference in the lives of these people is that some of them learned from their failures and took corrective action: The others failed to learn.

Edison also said that, “Failure is really a matter of conceit. People don’t work hard because, in their conceit, they imagine they’ll succeed without ever making an effort. Most people believe that they’ll wake up some day and find themselves rich. Actually, they’ve got it half right, because eventually they do wake up.”

As I think of Edison’s equation, I’m reminded of Paul’s words: “Knowing the time, it is already the hour for you to wake up from sleep, for now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed. The night is nearly over, and the daylight is near, so let us discard the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light (Romans 13).”

Wake up to this fact: Today can be a day that you can learn from your failures, or you fail to learn. One is an attitude of strength, and the other is an attitude of weakness; and, as Edison said: “Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is to try just one more time.”

How about giving life another chance and trying one more time.

Cogito Ergo Sum

1855645010_thinking_thoughts_xlargeCogito Ergo Sum is a Latin phrase that means I think therefore I am.  The little mental messages that flash through the mind act as a backseat driver that determines the direction of a person’s life. They either read the map clearly or they act as a dysfunctional detour.

With this being true, a person needs to give some thought to his thinking.   Are you more prone to mindless musings or mindful meditations?  Zig Ziglar was an often quoted motivational speaker who knew the importance of the thoughts we think.  Ziglar encouraged people to perform a “daily check up from the neck up to avoid stinkin ‘thinkin’.”

Ziglar was a Christian, and it’s possible that some of his quotes were Scripture-based.  The words of the Apostle Paul may have provided Ziglar some food for thought:  We demolish arguments and every high-minded thing that is raised up against the knowledge of God, taking every thought captive to obey Christ (2 CorInthians 10:5).

Let me share a couple more Ziglarisms:

  • Remember that failure is an event, not a person.
  • You will get all you want in life, if you help enough other people get what they want.
  • People often say motivation doesn’t last. Neither does bathing—that’s why we recommend it daily.
  • If you go looking for a friend, you’re going to find they’re scarce. If you go out to be a friend, you’ll find them everywhere.
  • Your attitude, not your aptitude, will determine your altitude.

When the Apostle Paul wrote to the church at Philippi, he encouraged them to think about their thoughts:  Finally brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable—if there is any moral excellence and if there is any praise—dwell on these things.

Have you given much thought about how you will think in 2014?  Here are a couple of suggestions:

  • Think excellent thoughts and not ones of mediocrity
  • Think thoughts that are full of compassion and not misdirected passion
  • Think constructive and not destructive thoughts
  • Think powerful thoughts of faith instead of paralyzing thoughts of fear
  • Think thoughts of reconciliation and not retaliation

Thomas Edison once said that, Five percent of the people think; ten percent of the people think they think; and the other eighty-five percent would rather die than think.

Where are you in Edison’s equation and are your thoughts mindless musings or mindful meditations?