Failure and defeat are life’s greatest teachers

By Quenjule Slaven. 28 November 2016, 12:00AM

I failed my eye exam and now wear glasses. I try not to stress over it. Failing eyesight as you get older is nature’s way of protecting you from shock as you walk past the mirror (so they say), but my dream of becoming a pilot in the future is shattered.  

Does it mean I have no future?  Not at all, I just have to change my plan to something that is ideal for my present situation.  

 When your plans fail, that temporary defeat is not permanent failure. 

It may be an indicator showing that the plan is flawed and something has to change. Let me put it this way, if plan “A” fails, remember you have 25 other letters left, so create other plans. 

This is where a lot of students give up on their dreams because they’re so focused on not failing, that they don’t aim for success and settling for mediocrity.  

All that is needed is to return to the drawing table, build new plans and start all over again, instead of crying over spilled milk.  

There is nothing awkward about failure and defeat, it’s what you do afterwards that really counts.  A real awkward moment is when you think you do a silent fart and it comes out like a machine gun, yep awkward! Your ability to accept feedback, criticism and make corrections on your plans is vital to your success. Keep asking, “What’s working?” and “What’s not working?” 

Thomas A. Edison failed ten thousand times before he perfected the incandescent electric light bulb. 

Meaning he met with temporary defeat ten thousand times, before he finally succeeded.  

Each time he met with temporary defeat, he had enough courage and guts to return to the drawing table. 

And when asked why he failed ten thousand times, he told the reporter he didn’t fail ten thousand times - he only discovered ten thousand ways it wouldn’t work. 

Life is about perspective and how we see things.  

This is what determines your reaction to the issues of your life and ultimately shapes your destiny (so I’ve been told). 

Temporary defeat should mean only one thing, the certain knowledge that there is something wrong with the plan and not the person. Here is this great story I read the other day:

This farmer had a plow mule named Sam that was the apple of his eye. 

They had a wonderful relationship until the day the farmer awoke to find his beloved plow mule missing. 

He was very disturbed and searched everywhere. 

He discovered that during the night, Sam had walked through a hole in the fence and had fallen into an old well in his next door neighbor’s farm. 

He fretted and stewed and did not know what to do. He could not dig a ramp or gear a pulley, so he decided to bury his old plow mule Sam down in the well. 

He threw a shovel full of dirt down the well. It landed on Sam and Sam shook it off and stepped up. 

He threw more dirt down and each time Sam shook it off and stepped up again. 

After a while, Sam stepped up and out of his problems and went on to lead a very rich and full life as a plow mule because even though people thought his life had ended, Sam believed otherwise. 

So how does that relate to us? 

Life throws dirt on us every day and as a result we can feel like failures. 

Whether we are happy or not depends on how we shake it off and move forward. 

It is about the interpretations and meanings we give to the issues and events of our lives. 

By Quenjule Slaven. 28 November 2016, 12:00AM

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