Happy New Year!
I hope your 2017 is off to a fantastic start and that, if you made any resolutions, you’ve been sticking to them! I’m personally not a big resolution maker, but am totally a proponent of reflection, evaluation, and goal setting, which can and should occur multiple times a year. I believe that without taking time to honestly consider where we are and how we need to improve, we quickly become complacent and get stuck inside our comfort zones, which is a dangerous place to be!
Many people don’t make resolutions, or even set non-New-Year’s-related goals for themselves, for one simple reason: the fear of failure. This, to me, is a terrible tragedy because failures are an integral part of success…if we learn from them and dust ourselves off when they knock us down.
“Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.”
— Winston Churchill
Failure, as I wrote in my writing blog this week, is a stepping stone to success. It teaches us invaluable lessons, lessons on what not to do, what to avoid, what to adjust, and where to go for help and advice.
Just like sets to failure in the gym, failures in life strengthen us and build resilience, thereby preparing us for future hardships and trials that are out of our control.
Failure also draws us to the Lord and enables us to better comfort others. The Bible tells us that God “comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God” (2 Cor. 1:4, NIV). If we don’t know what it feels like to fail, to have our hopes dashed, our egos bruised, and our hearts broken, then how will we be able to empathize with others in need of encouragement?
The most successful people in life tried and failed numerous times before they “made it.”
Thomas Edison famously tried more than 9,000 experiments before he created his first successful light bulb.
Stephen King’s first book was rejected 30 times.
J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter was rejected by 12 publishers.
One year into her first contract, Marilyn Monroe was dropped by 20th Century Fox because the producer thought she was unattractive and couldn’t act.
Beethoven’s music teacher said he was “hopeless” as a composer. As you may know, he also lost his hearing during his career, but he didn’t let that stop him!
When we stop to think about it, most of us learned the importance of failing when we were just infants. We learned to walk. And we learned it by failing – a lot. When did we let that childlike acceptance of failure get turned on its head? When did we decide that instead of failure being beneficial, it’s to be avoided at all costs?
Some people are fans of choosing words or mantras that establish a sort of theme for the year. Personally, I am embracing the words “Make Mistakes” for 2017. I hope you will join me in abandoning comfort zones, taking risks, trying new things, falling flat on our faces, and picking ourselves up to try, try again.