Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Failure Is Not Optional, It's Expected

A musical group with one of the strangest names in recorded history (Chumbawamba) sang one of the most-oddly-named songs ever written ("Tubthumping"). It was the group's biggest hit, even though it reached Number 12 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 20 Most-Annoying Songs.

Having just read the complete lyric, I'm glad that all anybody really remembers is the endlessly repeated "I get knocked down, but I get up again." It's an empowering, energetic anthem of personal triumph.

It's also the normal turn of events when trying to do or learn anything. "If at first you don't succeed" is Standard Operating Procedure for humanity.

And I'm not the only one who thinks so:

  • The semi-official mantra of the engineering department at Franklin Institute's nationally-recognized Science Leadership Academy is "Fail early. Fail often."
  • "Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently."  -  Henry Ford
  • "Each time you fail, you have eliminated another wrong option."  -  Thomas A. Edison
  • "The awesome thing about failure is that it is only temporary. Embrace it, learn the lesson and come back blazing."  -  Joel Brown
  • "Failure is another steppingstone to greatness."  -  Oprah Winfrey

Truth is...even the apostle Paul, who wrote a large chunk of the New Testament, can be added to the list. "Yet, my brothers, I do not consider myself to have 'arrived', spiritually, nor do I consider myself already perfect. But I keep going on, grasping ever more firmly that purpose for which Christ grasped me. My brothers, I do not consider myself to have fully grasped it even now. But I do concentrate on this: I leave the past behind and with hands outstretched to whatever lies ahead I go straight for the goal"  -  Philippians 3:12-14 (Phillips)

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