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Fringe benefits of failure

I live a different life from most people I know.

I don’t have any form of a nine-to-five job.

I barely earn an income (My wife even encouraged me to stop trying)

And besides phenomenal time with my family, I spend my days pursuing dreams that may never materialize.

Some days I wake with breathtaking anticipation ready to get the day going. But many days I wake tasting failure before my morning coffee.

I don’t want to ever justify or glorify failure – but I find the stories of others who’ve been in the depths of failure (ie. Author J.K. Rowlings of Harry Potter fame), incredibly encouraging.

“It’s impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all” ~ Rowlings

What do you fear failing right now?

{ 10 comments… add one }

  • Mike Burns June 30, 2010, 11:32 am

    I fight the fear of never doing anything I set out to do. I’m happy for my family and healthy children, but most of the goals I set for life as a teenager lie sleeping in the tall grass. I worry I’ll wake up one day and be 75 still stocking shelves at Home Depot praying to finish college one day. I can never get even one duck to line up, let alone a row.

    • Lon June 30, 2010, 11:11 pm

      Totally hear you on this Mike. Great dreams are never easy or everyone would be doing it (at least that’s what i tell myself).

      It’s a weird thing to be wonderfully content while striving for so much more… welcome to club conflicted.

  • Eugene July 1, 2010, 7:30 am

    I’m 25. I’ve been ‘out of work’, for what seems like an eternity. If I count the number of days (which I’m afraid to do) I wonder if I’ve been ‘unemployed’ longer than I’ve been ’employed’ since finishing school 2 years ago.

    Recently I’ve became heavily involved in a new startup company my friends and I started less than 2 years ago. I signed up for the Navy too. I got a cat (my dad says he’s always been allergic to cats). I’m making ends meet, but not rolling in the cash. I’m paying rent and all my expenses now. I’m ‘financially dependent’ to a certain degree.

    Most of all I’m happy. No scratch that – I’m joyous. Everyday honestly feels like the next best day of my life. I’ve had 5 BEST WEEKENDS in a row now and I don’t see this streak ending.

    So how did I do it? I’m not 100% sure. I AM sure that it wasn’t all me though. There are some things in life we can control and then there’s the other 99% of life that just needs to be lived out. I’m ‘making ends meet’ and I can see that the grass on this side of the fence is getting greener and greener everyday. I have been given the faith and patience to persevere. I just need a little extra dose of that patience everyday.

    Patience – probably the most scarce resource on this planet

    So to answer your question Lon, I’m not sure if I do fear failing right now. Could it happen? Sure, but if it weren’t for my past failures (and there are many) I wouldn’t be the person I am today. Alright, enough typing, let’s go MC a wedding.

    Happy Wedding S&F

    • Lon July 5, 2010, 10:02 pm

      Eug – lovin’ how you’re loving life these days.

  • Weewian July 1, 2010, 9:40 am

    Excellent speech – thanks for sharing.

    It’s true that failure is necessary for success, though I think the difference between those who eventually succeed is that they learn from each failure, and somehow manage to channel their efforts where it should go. I think that failure has to be met with humility and willingness to listen to those who have our best interests at heart – sometimes they’re right, and sometimes they don’t see what we see.

    • Lon July 5, 2010, 10:03 pm

      i wonder what happens to those who do honestly learn from each failure, and humbly listen to others, and still seem to come up short?

      • Weewian July 6, 2010, 3:48 pm

        If they consistently hit barriers with little to no affirmation along the way, then maybe it’s time to channel their efforts elsewhere…but that’s in an A + B = C world, where everything works out for a reason and a purpose, and unfortunately this world is not such a place – at least, not on this side of eternity.

        • Lon July 9, 2010, 3:52 pm

          thanks for the unfortunate reality check. Sometimes the greatest failure can be not knowing when to quit.

  • Mike Burns July 2, 2010, 9:01 pm

    Patience is indeed a key ingredient for success. I prayed that God would teach me patience about 3 years ago. I believe he’s going to do it even if it breaks me. I’m learning, just really slow.

    • Lon July 5, 2010, 10:05 pm

      I find ‘learning’ the hard things that i really need to learn.. well really hard. I can be convicted one day, but quite honestly I can then go a week without thinking about it completely sometimes. Patience is one thing, then there’s the often painful work of discipline and intentionality with wherever we’re going.

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