Sunday, May 24, 2009

Fear Insignificance, Not Failure

The secret to success is learning to fear insignificance more than failure.

It's been said that the opposite of love is not hate, but indifference. In "The 4-Hour Work Week" by Tim Ferriss, he suggests that the opposite of happiness is not sadness, but boredom. And now I'm learning that the opposite of success is not failure, but insignificance.

Failure is a remarkably splendid thing. We learn more from failure than from success. I remember the last time I lost a game of "Settlers of Catan." I was poised to win, completely dominating the game right from the outset. But I made a fatal flaw, my opponents exploited it, and I spent the last half of the game completely frustrated while everyone else caught up and someone else won. I learned a lot from that loss, though. I learned lessons that I can use in future games, as well as in actual business strategy. (Yes, I'm that competitive/nerdy) Ironically, I had won the game before, but I don't remember learning anything from that.

Although my competitive streak would suggest I think otherwise, my significance in life is not defined by how many board games I win. However, this is still an important example. When things don't turn out how we expect, it gives us an opportunity to examine what went wrong to change for next time. It forces us to look inside and examine our assumptions. Failure provides the impetus for change.

Anyone who has achieved anything of significance has experienced failure. If we give up when it gets rough or we experience setbacks, we're going to find that life becomes monotonous and repetitive. Success is dependent on stepping out, taking risks and embracing the failures for they are worth. Experiencing failure does not make us failures, unless we choose to stop after failing.

For a heartwearming end to this blog post, check out this inspirational Milk commercial. Also, John Maxwell brings a much more seasoned and in-depth look at failure in his book, "Failing Forward."

1 comment:

I am His beloved said...

WOW. I more I read your blog the more I realize
1. How alike in our thinking we are, we just express things differently.
2. What a real gem you are, your posts are rare in that they really are deep, profound, searching yet with a Christ centeredness.
3. We are both Canadian! I moved to the states when I met my husband.
Just amazing! Great Job Julie...Christ has something so beautiful for you!