Our Life on Christ

Sunday, January 1, 2012

10 Statements: Why You Should Welcome Failure in Life

A new year has begun and most people, in an attempt to make good on their resolutions from the previous year, are determined to accomplish something that has eluded them. Whether it is to lose those last five, ten, or 100 pounds, to travel to an exotic island, or to get your memoir about your year as a dog food tester published, you have failed in the past. But, that is okay.

Read below.

These ten little encouraging statements, which I found taped to a cabinet in my mom’s kitchen an hour before the ball dropped in Times Square, were typed on a newspaper clipping that has turned brown with age, presumably having been printed in the early 80s. The message, though, is timeless.

“Don’t be Afraid to Fail” - Author Unknown
You have failed many times, although you do not remember.
You fell down the first time you tried to walk.
You almost drowned the first time you tried to swim.
Did you hit the ball the first time you swung the bat?
Heavy hitters, the ones who hit the most home runs, also strike out a lot.
R.H. Macy failed seven times before his store in New York caught on.
Novelist John Creasey got 753 rejection slips before he published 564 books.
Babe Ruth hit 714 home runs, but he also stuck out 1,330 times.
The message is: do not worry about failure.
Worry instead about the chances you miss when you do not even try.

I love this! I cannot imagine getting 753 rejections to a book and still sending out my manuscript one more time. And I am sure you heard the incredible story about Thomas Edison. If not, I will enlighten you. Thomas Edison, the inventor of the light bulb, failed over 1,000 times before he got the light bulb to work properly. Of his failures, Edison is quoted as saying, "I have not failed 1,000 times. I have successfully discovered 1,000 ways NOT to make a light bulb." What an amazing perspective! Could you imagine our world if he had given up?! What will the world be missing out on if YOU don't give it one more go (or 587 more)?

The Bible is full of stories where failure was part of the plan.

God told Abraham to leave his family's house, promising that he would be the father of a great nation. Year after year he and his wife, Sarai, tried for children but it took them more than 20 years to conceive Isaac. That is thousands upon thousands of days being reminded that you do not have children and, therefore, are not the father of a great nation. Abraham did not lose faith, though. (Read about Abraham's story in Genesis chapters 11 through 25.)

Joseph had a God-given dream that he would rule over his brothers but, after sharing this vision with them and facing the crazy repercussions (being thrown down a well, sold into slavery, then landing in jail) he could have easily thought that he had failed. Many years later, though, after being placed in one of the top positions for the entire land of Egypt (second only after the pharaoh), he had the power to control whether his brothers lived or died when they came to buy food from him during a time of famine. What if Joseph stopped working towards God's plan? (Read Joseph's entire story in Genesis chapters 37 through 50.)

Moses is another example of a success story that had failures along the way. Moses was not a great speaker but God wanted him to speak before the ruler of a country! I couldn't imagine. God allowed Moses to use his brother Aaron to speak most of the time. God places people in our lives that can help us to fulfill God's will for us. Also, God told Moses that the pharaoh would reject Moses. This was a planned failure. Moses moved forward, anyway and, ultimately, his goal--God's goal--was realized. (Read Moses' story in the book of Exodus.)

If you think about it, Christianity is founded on an ultimate failure: someone had to die to save the rest of us. Death doesn't seem like a huge success but because He died, Jesus fulfilled God's will and allowed those that believed to be saved. "Failure," or obstacles, sometimes need to be part of the plan.

This year, I am determined to keep trying and--even if I fail--I will never give up. If the same items show up in my “2013 Goals” file that made their original appearance on my 2012 list, that is fine with me—as long as I am making an effort to one day put a check mark next to the entry.

Do you like the message from the unknown author? Are there things you are going to work towards this year no matter the outcome? Leave a comment below!


  1. Great post, Anji. We can all learn from our failures.

  2. Thank you, Angela! I pray that any past "failures" for you turn into successes in 2012 :-)

  3. Thanks, Angela! Looking at failures differently can really help give you a new perspective on life. I pray that any past "failures" for you turn into successes in 2012!

  4. This has really given me a new perspective on failure.  We all hear those speeches in which someone tells us "don't quit" and "never give up" but reading about the failures of R.H. Macy, Thomas Edison, and Babe Ruth really spoke to me.  No one is going to do anything perfectly the first time around.  Failing something twice really got me stuck in a rut, but after reading this post, I feel like I can step out and try again!

    Thanks for sharing this!  The Lord knows I needed to read it!

  5. I am glad, Dre! I was in the same rut after two rejection letters for my children's books. But when I read that at my mom's, I really felt it was God reminding me that He has a plan for me and to push forward.

    I am really SO happy this spoke to you!!