How 10 People Smarter Than Me See Failure

  1. Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.
    ~
    Winston Churchill

  1. Far better is it to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure… than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much, because they live in a gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat.
    ~
    Theodore Roosevelt

  1. Develop success from failures. Discouragement and failure are two of the surest stepping stones to success.
    ~
    Dale Carnegie

  1. I honestly think it is better to be a failure at something you love than to be a success at something you hate.
    ~
    George Burns

  1. Success represents the 1% of your work which results from the 99% that is called failure.
    ~
    Soichiro Honda

  1. You can’t have any successes unless you can accept failure.
    ~
    George Cukor

  1. Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently.
    ~
    Henry Ford

  1. Failure happens all the time. It happens every day in practice. What makes you better is how you react to it.
    ~
    Mia Hamm

  1. A man can fail many times, but he isn’t a failure until he begins to blame somebody else.
    ~
    John Burroughs


  2. Failure is unimportant. It takes courage to make a fool of yourself.
    ~
    Charlie Chaplin

Get lost?

If finding my way from point A to point B was a contest I’d lose. Every time. It’s not that I can’t navigate, I’m actually pretty good with a map. It’s that I can’t navigate without a map and I know that and yet every time I still think that for some reason this trip will be different. Today I’ll find my way to the new place without a map. This week I won’t get lost, I’ll be able to figure out where I am on my own. This afternoon I will just know which way north is and thus go the correct direction.

ANY CHARACTER HERE

No.

ANY CHARACTER HERE

I am always wrong. And before someone tries to defend me and explains that I’m really not bad with directions, well, just consider the following-

ANY CHARACTER HERE

I once drove the wrong way across an entire state. On the interstate. And it was daytime. More than 4 hours the wrong way. Didn’t notice until I was at the rest stop and looked at the “You Are Here” star on the  map. Thankfully I saw the map. Otherwise I might not have stopped till we hit Canada.

ANY CHARACTER HERE

I once got lost walking from my car to a creek that I had just driven over. To be fair- 2 other people were with me. But our 250ish foot walk ended up being over a quarter mile and we still never found the creek. Nor did we realize we had walked too far until we saw the interstate.

ANY CHARACTER HERE

I once got on a random bus in Korea and then rode it to the end of the line. Why? I have no idea, it seemed like an OK idea at the time. After the driver forced me off in the middle of nowhere I spent several hours walking along weedy roadsides and waving at staring locals until I eventually stumbled across another stop and caught a bus back toward the city.

ANY CHARACTER HERE

I once went for a walk in a forest in NC with 3 other people, all of whom were experienced wilderness professionals. We became so lost on our “30 minute walk” that we almost built shelters and camped for the night. No food, no phones, no supplies. I wasn’t in charge of that near disaster but I credit my direction-impairing aura with influencing their own abilities since they hike for a living.

ANY CHARACTER HERE

I once tried to go to church just south of Houston and spent over two hours looking for it before giving up. Long after it would have been too late to attend, I was just trying to find the place at that point. I finally threw in the towel and went to a Mexican flea market instead.  I passed the church not 10 minutes after I left, obviously sitting by a road I been down several times that morning.

ANY CHARACTER HERE

The upside to all this is that I have seen some really amazing things that I might have missed otherwise. Things like a toothpick holder that was shaped like a man with cactus spines sticking out of his butt. Or fresh bear tracks, crossing over our own (though, creepily enough, we never saw said bear).

ANY CHARACTER HERE

I think my sense of direction in other areas is just as bad. I always feel like today is the day I will know exactly what God wants me to do. It’s not that I can’t follow God’s will. It’s that I can’t follow God’s will without his regular guidance and yet every time I think that this time will be different.  That this move will be the move that puts me on the right road for good. That when I apply to this college or take this job or make these plans that this is when I’ll have my direction for the rest of my life. That this time when I get guidance it will be permanent. This time I won’t get confused. This will be the decision that I can handle on my own. That I’ve finally gotten the hang of this and I can totally wing it now.

ANY CHARACTER HERE

No.

ANY CHARACTER HERE

I am always wrong. Not always that I am not in God’s will for me at the time, but it’s not a one-time thing. I always want him to just tell me what I should do and then I’ll go do that. A sort of  job placement. He doesn’t seem interested in leading me like that.

ANY CHARACTER HERE

I once had horses and I was as happy as I’ve ever been. I thought I could raise and train them for the rest of my life and be supremely content. I’d like to say I gave that dream to God when he asked for it but to be honest he had to pry my cold, frantic fingers off one by one. And what could have been still hurts too much if I dwell on it.

ANY CHARACTER HERE

I once joined the military, the Coast Guard. Everything came together so well, my tests and exams went far more smoothly than I had imagined and I scored better than I had any right to score. And I was being assigned to my #1 choice in field. Then I was given a medical discharge for a condition I don’t have, and though I had all the symptoms while I was there I haven’t been bothered once since I got out. And that was a  death of a dream.

ANY CHARACTER HERE

I once went to Korea and I had an amazing time. I was scared and alone and completely dependent on God and I grew more than I thought possible. Love for a people I didn’t understand and couldn’t really talk to filled me and I was inspired by the opportunities I faced and the work I was being welcomed into with open arms by the people who were already there. Then I came home, back to the States, and “reality” set in and I let that passion drift away. And I was reasonable and I was logical and I never went back.

ANY CHARACTER HERE

I once went to a missions college, full of hopes and excitement. I was going to become a missionary, and I was going to go on the field for 16 months. I passed my classes, I passed my evaluations, I dealt with issues that could have kept me here. I was fully approved. I didn’t go. There were a number of reasons and they were all good; to this day I wonder if I should have gone anyway. But I made my choice and I stuck with it. And I said bye to that dream as well.

ANY CHARACTER HERE

I once moved to New Orleans to go to college. I fought the move with every fiber of my being. I hated to the city, I hated the thought of living there for 4 years, I hated that the school I wanted to attend had to be in a state I loathed. I fell head over heels in love with NOLA. I adore that city in a way I’ve never felt about anywhere else I’ve lived. I found an amazing church, made friends right away, and was excited to start classes for a major that perfectly fit my dreams. As if it had been written for me. And I couldn’t stay. No matter how hard I tried and I fought and I prayed there just weren’t any jobs and I ran out of money and I had to leave. I was so ashamed that almost just walked away into the streets and disappeared.

ANY CHARACTER HERE

I once went to MN and doors opened for me at every turn. I began to work at an amazing job where I knew I had the chance to make a difference. I was surrounded by friends and people who truly cared about me. I found a great church and a great writing group and I got involved with the local arts scene.

ANY CHARACTER HERE

And while I am filled with joy and excited for where I am there is a part of me that cannot help but wonder- how this chapter in my story going to end? I can see God’s hand all through my adventures, both the good and the bad. And I can see how each of those experiences has shaped and prepared me for the next one. Truly, all things have worked together for my good. But that doesn’t change the fact that I catch myself feeling nervous now, waiting for the other shoe to drop. Feeling like this is too good to be true, or at least too good to last for very long. But I’m going to enjoy it while I’m here and see what the future brings.

ANY CHARACTER HERE

And I’m going to use my GPS while I’m in Uptown so I can avoid ending up in North Dakota.

Happy Day!

The great gift of Easter is hope –

Christian hope which makes us have that confidence in God,

in his ultimate triumph, and in his goodness and love, which nothing can shake.
~
Basil C. Hume

*****

This song is one of my new favorites, we sung it at church this morning and I wanted to share it with you.

*****

The greatest day in history, Death is beaten
You have rescued me
Sing it out Jesus is alive
The empty cross, The empty grave
Life eternal You have won the day
Shout it out Jesus is alive!
He’s alive!


Oh happy day, happy day
You washed my sin away
Oh happy day, happy day
I’ll never be the same
Forever I am changed!

When I stand, in that place
Free at last, meeting face to face
I am Yours Jesus You are mine
Endless joy, perfect peace
Earthly pain finally will cease
Celebrate Jesus is alive!
He’s alive!

Oh happy day, happy day
You washed my sin away
Oh happy day, happy day
I’ll never be the same
Forever I am changed!


Oh what a glorious day
What a glorious way
That You have saved me
Oh what a glorious day

What a glorious name


~Happy Day, by Tim Hughes~

Why Failing Forward?

I got this idea here, at an amazing blog I recommend you immediately check-out. I have gained a ton of inspiration and encouragement from reading Chris’s writing. And he has ridiculous adventures now and again, how can you beat that? 

ANY CHARACTER HERE

Anyway, when I read that post “failing forward” popped into my mind and took up residence. Failure had already become something of a study of mine. I hate to fail and have, with ever-increasing horror/excitement, been coming to a place where I realize it is not only inevitable but it is also healthy and good. Failure can move you forward. Not failing might get you there faster, true enough. But as long as your failures lie along the same path you will eventually make progress.

ANY CHARACTER HERE

I’m not saying every failure leads to success, or that every failure will move you forward. But I am saying this- you will fail. I will fail. A lot. This is non-negotiable. With that in mind- fail forward. When faced with standing still or moving ahead- move ahead. If you succeed, wonderful. If you fail, you are still further along. You have failed forward.

ANY CHARACTER HERE

Don’t stand still and fail. Those are often smaller, less painful, less visible failures. But they will eat away at you until there is nothing left. And if you aren’t failing at all right now, watch yourself. That is a failure. Growth is painful and messy and filled with mistakes so if you can’t find any areas where you are failing then there probably aren’t any areas where you are growing either.

ANY CHARACTER HERE

Don’t keep failing at the same lessons. If you are stuck in the same place, if you are making the same mistakes you were making last month or year, then get help. Find a teacher, read a book, confess publicly, find a partner, join a class- whatever your failure there is a way to get help. Asking though, asking takes humility.

ANY CHARACTER HERE

Fail forward. Fail with gusto. Do things with the full knowledge that they will go badly and embrace that from the start. I had my first improv class a few days ago. I failed. Spectacularly and repeatedly throughout the morning. I failed to be funny. I failed to think fast on my feet. I failed to remember what I was supposed to be doing. I stood there with a stupid look on my face and no words in my mouth. Want to know how my instructor handles failure? He cheers. Whenever I messed-up in class he would lead my fellow improvees in clapping and cheering.

ANY CHARACTER HERE

Failure is celebrated.

ANY CHARACTER HERE

Why?

ANY CHARACTER HERE

Because it means you are doing improv. Professional acts have dud jokes and awkward pauses during every performance. It’s part of working in front of a live audience. If you aren’t failing during improv it’s because you are keeping your mouth shut and not stepping up. And if you are keeping your mouth shut and not stepping-up  then you aren’t doing improv.

ANY CHARACTER HERE

Now, take those last two lines and switch “improv” with “life”.

30×30

Goals are important to me. I set goals every 6 months and I’ve been doing this since I was about 16. The number varies, it’s been as low as 6 or as high as 25. I never make them all. In fact, there have been times I’ve made none. Fail.

ANY CHARACTER HERE

However, even those times where I gave up or didn’t care or whatever happened I still had something to measure myself by, a list to show my laziness or lack of effort. Or, other times to show me how much I did succeed, even if it didn’t feel that way. I’ve made long-term goals a few times but I have found them less useful. Trying to pin down what I want to have happen in 10 years is difficult when I don’t even know what I want for supper. 

ANY CHARACTER HERE

Jon Acuff, over at Stuff Christian’s Like, did a post last Dec about his 40 by 40 list, 40 things he wants to do before he turns 40 (this was inspired by his turning 35). That was only a few weeks before my 27th birthday and it inspired me to make a similar list- 30×30.

ANY CHARACTER HERE
  1. Visit all 50 states (remaining- CA, OR, NV, ND, MT, AR, DE, RI)
  2. Be married
  3. Write 3 more novels
  4. Publish a book, sell 500+ copies
  5. Write 3 movie scripts
  6. Take belly-dance or strip class
  7. Take ballroom or Latin dance class
  8. Take martial arts or fencing class
  9. Buy a handgun, learn to shoot
  10. Spend a week in D.C.
  11. Do 100 push-ups, 200 crunches, 5 pull-ups 
  12. Run a 7 minute mile
  13. Spend 2 weeks in Europe
  14. Be out of debt, have investments started
  15. Start a blog   04/16/11
  16. Take/audit a class on a new topic
  17. Join Toastmasters
  18. Try acting
  19. Sew a jean skirt by myself
  20. Take a cooking class
  21. Read my Bible in a month
  22. Memorize a chunk of Scripture
  23. Have and be a mentor
  24. Quilt a full-size quilt by hand
  25. Learn another language conversationally
  26. Have my teeth fixed
  27. Get a massage
  28. Get a tattoo
  29. Be a regular, sizable supporter for a missionary
  30. Be self/alternatively employed
ANY CHARACTER HERE

A month later I was packing to move to MN and found a “dreams list” of 100 things I wanted to do during my life that I had written for a class assignment at BCOM and then promptly forgotten existed. The items above that are in bold are things that were on that list. I think that if they stuck with me for 3 years without me realizing it then they are the ones I should really focus my efforts toward. I’m going to make a new page on here to keep a running tally and update this list as I accomplish my goals, and now y’all will know if I make it or not. Let’s use this peer-pressure for good!

The Start

I’ve put off starting this blog for months. I have thought about it, considered it, played with it, pondered it; I didn’t start it. I refused to commit. I didn’t feel sure of myself, I thought, “a blog needs a theme, a driving point- it needs to be built around something” and so I refused to start one.

ANY CHARACTER HERE

Nothing has changed.

ANY CHARACTER HERE

I still don’t don’t have a theme. I still think I need one. However, my refusal to start has more to do with pride and perfectionism than it does anything else. So I’m starting a flawed, vague blog that I will refine as I go.

ANY CHARACTER HERE

Failing forward.

ANY CHARACTER HERE

It’s an idea I’ve been chewing on for a few months now. Failure as a means of advancement. There’s an uncomfortable thought. One that deserves it’s own post. Until then I will add only this- failure is a verb, not a noun.

ANY CHARACTER HERE

You and I fail, we are not failures.



Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 994 other followers

%d bloggers like this: