The F Word: Finding Success in Failure
The Would Be Bankrobber
He felt like a failure! Everything he attempted seemed to turn out wrong. He began to fantasize about being rich. He would do the one thing he could do to make the most money in the briefest period of time. He would take up the occupation of bank robbing.
The would-be bank robber began to plan his strategy. He sat up late at night working on detailed plans, drawing sketches and going over steps he would take in robbing the bank. But he could never seem to get around to robbing the bank. He would plan each night, but when morning came, his anxiety paralyzed him, again.
One night he determined that his mind was made up. Regardless of his feelings he would force himself to rob the bank the next morning. The next morning an anxiety attack paralyzed him again. Finally he came through it and forced himself to get into his car and go to the bank.
The reluctant bank robber sat in the car in the parking lot from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. trying to force himself out of the car. Finally, he got out of the car and went into the bank. At the teller’s window he handed the teller his pistol. He stuck his brown paper bag in her face and said, “Don’t stick with me. This is a mess-up.”
Psalm 37:23-25 NIV – The Lord makes firm the steps of the one who delights in him; 24 though he may stumble, he will not fall, for the Lord upholds him with his hand. 25 I was young and now I am old, yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken or their children begging bread.
How do you respond when you have failed? Do you avoid taking risks for fear of failure? A successful person is not one who never fails. A successful person is one who learns from his/her mistakes and failures and grows from them. Be developed by failure, instead of destroyed by it.
7 years old — Family lost their home. He went to work to support them.
9 years old– A backward, shy little boy …. his mother died.
22 years old– Lost his job as a store clerk …. couldn’t fulfill his dream of going to law school. Didn’t have enough education.
23 years old– Became a partner in a small store …. three years later his business partner died leaving him a huge debt that took years to repay.
28 years old — He proposed marriage to a young lady he had been seeing for four years. She said, “No.” He had earlier been in love with a young lady and she with him, but it ended in heartache when she died.
37 years old– He was elected to Congress on his third try.
39 years old– He failed to be re-elected …. had a nervous breakdown.
41 years old– In the midst of a very unhappy marriage, his four year old son died.
42 years old– He was rejected for position of Land Officer.
45 years old– He ran for the Senate and lost.
47 years old– He was defeated in his nomination for Vice President.
49 years old– He ran for the Senate and lost again.
* Add to this an endless barrage of criticism, false rumors and misunderstandings.
51 years old– He was elected President of the United States …. second term in office was cut short by an assassin’s bullet
— As this man lay dying …. Edwin Stanton, one of his former opponents and bitterest enemies said: “There lies the most perfect ruler of men the world has ever seen …. now he belongs to the ages.” …. This man’s name: Abraham Lincoln.
Failure is the state or condition of not meeting a desirable or intended objective, and may be viewed as the opposite of success
God Anticipates our Failure
Psalms 103:13-14 NIV – As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him; 14 for he knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust.
Romans 3:10 NIV – As it is written: “There is no one righteous, not even one;
“We are all failures- at least the best of us are.” J.M. Barrie
1 Corinthians. 10:11-12 MSG These are all warning markers—danger!—in our history books, written down so that we don’t repeat their mistakes. Our positions in the story are parallel—they at the beginning, we at the end—and we are just as capable of messing it up as they were. Don’t be so naive and self-confident. You’re not exempt. You could fall flat on your face as easily as anyone else. Forget about self-confidence; it’s useless. Cultivate God-confidence.
“God uses people who fail – cause there aren’t any other kind around.” John Maxwell
Finding the Success in Failure
II Corinthians 4:7-10 NIV – But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. 8 We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; 9 persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. 10 We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body
- Failure is Unavoidable
Face the facts. You are human. No matter who you are, no matter what your walk of life, you will make mistakes. If you don’t make mistakes, there could be something wrong with you!
Ecclesiastes 3:6 AMP “A time to get and a time to lose …”
Theodore Roosevelt said, “The only man who never makes a mistake is the man who never does anything.” The simple reality is that failure is one of those ugly realities of life—a common experience to all of us
John 21:3 NLT “Simon Peter said, „I‟m going fishing.‟ „We‟ll come, too,‟ they all said. So they went out in the boat, but they caught nothing all night.”
2. Understand that Failure is a moment in your life, not a monument.
Too many times when people fail, they erect a monument to their mistake, and spend the rest of their lives re-living the event. To turn failure into success, take a moment and evaluate what went wrong, establish a new way of doing things, and then keep moving.
Philippians 3:12-14 NIV – Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. 13 Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
Failures only last as long as you allow them. Failure do not mean failure – unless you refuse to learn from them. Ask yourself what lesson you need to learn so that you can move on.
Don’t confuse Failure with being a Failure
Galatians 6:9 NLT “So let‟s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don‟t give up.”
Remember: I am not a failure until I give up!
Babe Ruth – With his reputation as the King of Home Runs came the title of the King of Strikeouts. Alongside his 714 career home runs stood a legacy of 1,330 strikeouts—a strikeout was only a momentary, if melodramatic, setback. He said “Every strike brings me closer to the next home run,”
Realize that there is One major difference between average and achieving people. How people see failures and deal with it impact every aspect of their lives
Failure in life may look like a fact, but its only an opinion.
You have to look at failure differently. You have the potential to overcome failures, misfortunes, difficulties, all you have to do is to learn to fail forward
3. Find the silver lining in the cloud of failure
Don’t allow a failure to go unsearched. Learning from a mistake, results in taking a major step toward success. When we see our mistakes and are willing to change, we position ourselves for success.
Proverbs 3:13 NIV – Blessed are those who find wisdom, those who gain understanding,
“If God cushioned our every blow, we would never learn to grow.” Mike Murdock
“If stupidity got us into this mess, then why can’t it get us out?” Will Rogers 🙂
Begin to see Failure as your friend. Although they may seem uncomfortable and painful at the time, you can turn them around to your benefit.“No man ever became great or good except through many and great mistakes.” Failure is simply an opportunity to learn.
Hebrews 12:11 NIV – No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.
Failures and mistakes can be a bridge not a barricade
Thomas Edison invented the microphone, the phonograph, the incandescent light, the storage battery, talking movies, and more than 1000 other things. December 1914 he had worked for 10 years on a storage battery. This had greatly strained his finances. This particular evening spontaneous combustion had broken out in the film room. Within minutes all the packing compounds, celluloid for records and film, and other flammable goods were in flames. Fire companies from eight surrounding towns arrived, but the heat was so intense and the water pressure so low that the attempt to douse the flames was futile. Everything was destroyed. Edison was 67.
With all his assets going up in a whoosh (although the damage exceeded two million dollars, the buildings were only insured for $238,000 because they were made of concrete and thought to be fireproof), would his spirit be broken?
The inventor’s 24-year old son, Charles, searched frantically for his father. He finally found him, calmly watching the fire, his face glowing in the reflection, his white hair blowing in the wind. “My heart ached for him,” said Charles. “He was 67—no longer a young man—and everything was going up in flames. When he saw me, he shouted, ‘Charles, where’s your mother?’ When I told him I didn’t know, he said, ‘Find her. Bring her here. She will never see anything like this as long as she lives.’”
The next morning, Edison looked at the ruins and said, “There is great value in disaster. All our mistakes are burned up. Thank God we can start anew.” Three weeks after the fire, Edison managed to deliver the first phonograph.
Vernon Sanders said, “Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first, and the lesson afterwards.”
4. Don’t Let Failure Stop you before you Succeed
Have you ever not started something because you felt that the conditions had to be perfect before you stepped out? If so, then chances are you never accomplished anything of great value. Don’t let failure cause you to stop short of complete victory and live to regret it later!
Hebrews 10:36-39 MSG – Remember those early days after you first saw the light? Those were the hard times! Kicked around in public, targets of every kind of abuse—some days it was you, other days your friends. If some friends went to prison, you stuck by them. If some enemies broke in and seized your goods, you let them go with a smile, knowing they couldn’t touch your real treasure. Nothing they did bothered you, nothing set you back. So don’t throw it all away now. You were sure of yourselves then. It’s still a sure thing! But you need to stick it out, staying with God’s plan so you’ll be there for the promised completion. It won’t be long now, he’s on the way; he’ll show up most any minute. But anyone who is right with me thrives on loyal trust; if he cuts and runs, I won’t be very happy. But we’re not quitters who lose out. Oh, no! We’ll stay with it and survive, trusting all the way.
Winston Churchill said, “Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.”
The fact that you’ve failed is proof that you are not finished
You don’t drown by falling in the water, you drown by staying there.
5. Failure is Forgivable
There is grace when you make a mistake. Don’t allow discouragement to cripple you from trying or to keep you from getting back up again. Remain humble and teachable. When you make a mistake, admit it, confess it, and go on. Be honest with others and welcome their input so you can continue on your course without delay
1929 Rose Bowl
On New Year’s Day, 1929, Georgia Tech played University of California in the Rose Bowl. In that game a man named Roy Riegels recovered a fumble for California. Somehow, he became confused and started running 65 yards in the wrong direction. One of his teammates, Benny Lom, outdistanced him and downed him just before he scored for the opposing team. When California attempted to punt, Tech blocked the kick and scored a safety which was the ultimate margin of victory.
That strange play came in the first half, and everyone who was watching the game was asking the same question: “What will Coach Nibbs Price do with Roy Riegels in the second half?” The men filed off the field and went into the dressing room. They sat down on the benches and on the floor, all but Riegels. He put his blanket around his shoulders, sat down in a corner, put his face in his hands, and cried like a baby.
If you have played football, you know that a coach usually has a great deal to say to his team during half time. That day Coach Price was quiet. No doubt he was trying to decide what to do with Riegels. Then the timekeeper came in and announced that there were three minutes before playing time. Coach Price looked at the team and said simply, “Men the same team that played the first half will start the second.” The players got up and started out, all but Riegels. He did not budge. the coach looked back and called to him again; still he didn’t move. Coach Price went over to where Riegels sat and said, “Roy, didn’t you hear me? The same team that played the first half will start the second.” Then Roy Riegels looked up and his cheeks were wet with a strong man’s tears.
“Coach,” he said, “I can’t do it to save my life. I’ve ruined you, I’ve ruined the University of California, I’ve ruined myself. I couldn’t face that crowd in the stadium to save my life.”
Then Coach Price reached out and put his hand on Riegel’s shoulder and said to him: “Roy, get up and go on back; the game is only half over.” And Roy Riegels went back, and those Tech men will tell you that they have never seen a man play football as Roy Riegels played that second half.
Include God In My Failure
Philippians 3:8 MSG – The very credentials these people are waving around as something special, I’m tearing up and throwing out with the trash—along with everything else I used to take credit for. And why? Because of Christ. Yes, all the things I once thought were so important are gone from my life. Compared to the high privilege of knowing Christ Jesus as my Master, firsthand, everything I once thought I had going for me is insignificant—dog dung. I’ve dumped it all in the trash so that I could embrace Christ and be embraced by him. I didn’t want some petty, inferior brand of righteousness that comes from keeping a list of rules when I could get the robust kind that comes from trusting Christ—God’s righteousness.
TAKE RESPONSIBILITY FOR MY FAILURE
Proverbs 28:13 TLB – A man who refuses to admit his mistakes can never be successful. But if he confesses and forsakes them, he gets another chance.
I John 1:8-9 NIV – If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.
Let Go of my Guilt
Colossians 2:14 NIV – having canceled the charge of our legal indebtedness, which stood against us and condemned us; he has taken it away, nailing it to the cross.
Romans 8:1 NIV – Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus,
Don’t let your failures bury you. Let them Inspire you! Yesterdays failures can become todays success! God is in the restoration and recovery business.