Quoting Helen Keller, one of the speakers at my high school graduation concluded his speech with the words: “Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.” However, he had only delivered the punch line.
A more complete quotation of Helen Keller is as follows: “Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.”
Failures are inevitable. You will experience events in your life, and most likely in your college education, that will be identified as failures. Security is mostly a superstition. Avoiding failure and playing it completely safe is indeed unhealthy. What one must do is learn to embrace failure as a friend.
Retrain your mind to realize that failure is not defined in terms of a collection of mistakes, but more in terms of what is occurring on your inside. What you do next after failure reveals what you believe about yourself.
You cannot be a success until you embrace failure. Failure is inevitable whereas success is not. Not every failure will become a success. However, every successful person has endured and overcome some failure. True champions will not let the external signposts of failure get inside them to pollute their character nor their mindset of hope and determination. The key to being a survivor is to consciously retrain your mind in positive thinking. You must learn that failure is only a temporary setback as opposed to defining who you are.
Keller in no way suggests that outright exposure to danger is in anyway wise. She is just saying that cowardice is not a valid or viable option. The difference between achievers and those otherwise are that the former take intelligent risks. Unfortunately, in this context, “intelligent” is quite subjective and you must discover on your own what it means. However, intelligent does not refer to cowardly complacence. The achiever is indeed a risk taker that deems life to be a daring adventure.
Now, taking risks may not be worth much if you have no purpose in life. Just because you may be young and in the process of discovering your life purpose does not mean you do not have a purpose. For now, your purposeful goal is to, through college and other life experiences to discover your specific life purpose. Just remember to still accept failure as a valuable part of that learning process.
We must fail forward. Though in all circumstances we must take responsibility for our errors, we must not identify ourselves as failures. Though I strongly suggest you embrace failure as a friend, do not surrender yourself to it in the sense that it stifles and overwhelms you. Use failure, since it is merely a temporary setback, as a steppingstone to your ultimate success. Achieving anything of worth usually requires overcoming adversity.
If this sounds like meaningless positive rhetoric, it is. However, it need not be. The content here is meant to be a stimulus to catalyze your willingly changing your attitude about one of the things we fear most. Just because you fail does not mean you will be a failure. Just because you will err in the future does not mean you are destined to be a failure. If we change our mentality and make the resolve to take actual steps of action to fail forward, we can achieve. If, however, we are not willing to fail nor put failure into its proper perspective, we will most certainly not succeed.
I wish that you do succeed with the best of them in as much as you are able to accept failure as a necessary agent in your life and component of success.
On the other hand, as far as I am concerned, there is a means in which you can fail. You can fail in realizing what your true purpose is. I suggest such a purpose is to relate lovingly to the Creator of the heavens and the earth. Of course the resolve to surrender all and accept Christ must come as your own personal response to the Spirit calling and your own convictions.
Nevertheless, in due time, through the struggle we call life, you will indeed, consciously or not, choose what purpose in life you will ultimately gratify. Fail forward in achieving such a purpose.
RRRJr. was inspired in part to write this article by John C. Maxwell’s Failing Forward.
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