Success and failure are the topics of many discussions. In the Proverbs, Solomon draws a contrast between the “God-loyal people” and the “wicked” and how they manage the difficult times they face:
“Don’t interfere with good people’s lives; don’t try to get the best of them. No matter how many times you trip them up, God-loyal people don’t stay down long; Soon they’re up on their feet, while the wicked end up flat on their faces.” ~Proverbs 24:15-16
When a person is successful, he hears the cheers of the crowd; however, when he fails, the whispers of the same people are heard as an agonizing shout. Failure is, however, a normal part of a person’s life.
With this in mind, let me share my Top Ten Failure Quotes:
- Failure is not falling down: It is staying down.
- “Failure isn’t fatal, but failure to change might be” – John Wooden
- “Failure should be our teacher, not our undertaker. Failure is delay, not defeat. It is a temporary detour, not a dead end. Failure is something we can avoid only by saying nothing, doing nothing, and being nothing.” – Denis Waitley
- “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” – Thomas A. Edison
- “Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm.” – Winston Churchill
- “It’s not how far you fall, but how high you bounce that counts.” – Zig Ziglar
- “I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. Twenty-six times I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.” – Michael Jordan
- Try again. Fail again. Fail better. ~Samuel Beckett
- Never confuse a single defeat with a final defeat. ~F. Scott Fitzgerald
- The men who try to do something and fail are infinitely better than those who try to do nothing and succeed. ~Lloyd Jones
When I think of a God-loyal person, I think of Tim Tebow. This young man had a stellar career as a college quarteback. When his professional career came to an abrupt halt, some peole labeled him as a failure.
Tebow stayed in shape, continued to work hard, and he signed a contract with the Eagles this week. He is anything but a failure, and he is a living example of Solomon’s words: “God-loyal people don’t stay down long; Soon they’re up on their feet . . . “
We 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.