September 22, 2015

"Failure": The Stepping Stone to Success

“Man, look at those celebrities! They are at the top of their career! Life is so easy for them! Everything is handed to them on a golden platter!” some of us may think. Individuals see blissful faces on books, TV, or movies, and envy them their lives. What we don’t see is the years, even decades, of struggle most of them have gone through to get where they are.

The Winding Road to Success

Most people appreciate clear goals, distinct trails to those objectives, and victory upon completion of the goals. However, life is rarely so convenient. Our road to achievement is not likely to always be straight, narrow, and well defined; just ask any famous person.

Our path may look more like one of the images above. Our trails may be winding, obstructed by curves, hills, rocks, or steep grades. At times, life just really has a way of forcing us to take giant leaps backward before we take small steps forward in a given area.

The Bible

Romans 5:3-5 says that we should rejoice in our suffering. Why? Because it builds endurance, which builds character, which builds hope, which helps us to reject shame as we feel the love of Christ.

Famous Examples of Long Roads to Success

The image on the bottom is of Terry Fator, America’s Got Talent, season 2 winner. The image on the top is of Paul Zerdin, the recent winner of season 10. Both men are ventriloquists. Both men played to small audiences for years as they built their craft. Their road has been long and tough.

Now, Terry Fator has a multi-million dollar contract and his own theater in Las Vegas, Nevada. The sky is the limit for Paul Zerdin, too, since he has had international exposure.

Other Examples of Delayed, or Unexpected, Victory:

  • Steve Jobs dropped out of college and started Apple in his garage.
  • Bill Gates started Microsoft in a tiny strip mall.
  • Thomas Edison “failed” anywhere from 30 to 1,000 times (depending on the source) at creating the light bulb.
  •  Post-it® Notes and potato chips were both created as mistakes, or as afterthoughts.

My Conclusion

Life constantly gives us the opportunity to experiment, or practice. Even in this age, true, lasting achievement doesn’t happen overnight. In fact, reality says that there are no guarantees in this process of discovery that we call “life”. The good news is that we learn and grow through our mistakes. This makes our eventual success all the more sweet.

How have you found success after years of training?

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