You don’t wake up in the morning, look in the mirror and announce: “Today I’m going to fail.” Failure hurts. You know the pain of failing. Sometimes the pain takes the form of embarrassment. Other times the pain is self-inflicted and you curse yourself for being so stupid. There are times when the pain reminds you of other hurtful moments from your past. By the time you reach the over 50 crowd you’ve a lot of failures to process.
- Do you still feel the pain of your latest and greatest failure?
- Did you drop the ball on a project at work?
- Did you agree to do a ministry at church but bailed?
- Did your son remind you that as a parent you sucked?
- Did you make a solemn vow to God but broke it?
- Did you let a friend down when they needed you?
Shame. Pain. Embarrassment. Hurt. Alarm.
Take a deep breath. I have good news for you. One of the ReFIRE principles focuses on the concept of being FREE from the past. Don’t hang on to your failures. There are solid reasons why you should celebrate your failures.
Here’s 5 reasons to celebrate your failures.
1. Failure means you have not given up. You are still swinging the bat. Imagine a pro baseball player giving up because he strikes out more than he gets on base. Crazy! As long as he keeps swinging the bat and gets a hit 1 out of 3 times he will receive a million dollar paycheck. Failure is a sign you haven’t stopped swinging.
2. Failure points you to success. History is undecided on the exact number of times Edison failed to get the right filament in the invention of the light bulb but it numbers close to 10,000. He refused to give up, noting that each failure meant he could remove it from the list of possible filaments. Your failures provide signposts which direct you toward what will succeed.
3. Failure always offers a lesson waiting to be learned. If you do not learn from your failure then you have wasted an opportunity to learn how to succeed. Analyze what went wrong. Ask how the failure could have been avoided. Is it possible to try again with the lesson learned from your previous failure? How will your failure keep you from making the same mistake again? Learn the lessons failure is waiting to teach you.
4. Failure develops character. German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche put it like this: “That which does not kill us, makes us stronger.” Practice viewing failure as the sand in the oyster of your life which is creating a valuable pearl. The grit of failure is making you a stronger person. Every failure helps build your character.
5. Failure creates opportunities. To fail is to have an opportunity to start again. Failure shuts down the direction you are headed and opens up another opportunity. Think of your most recent failure; the one which keeps you awake at night. What opportunities did it open up for you? And if you think there weren’t any, think again. There’s an opportunity hiding in the shadows of every defeat.