So having just seen The Last Jedi, one of the most memorable moments for me is the return of Yoda and his wisdom: “The greatest teacher, failure is.” Ironically, as a society, we tend to spend a great deal of time trying to avoid failure, trying to convince others we didn’t fail, and justifying why failure wasn’t really our fault. Entering 2018, I think we should embrace failure as a teacher, not an excuse, but a way to improve.
Failure can help us learn to take risks. Personally, I know that it is through my failure that I have reached a point where I had no choice but to choose something different. I spent a great deal of time trying to make something work that just wasn’t meant to be. However, when I took a leap of faith and went in a different direction, everything just fell into place. Failure shouldn’t paralyze, it should energize us to find new solutions.
Failure can help us learn a needed lesson that we must face head-on. Many times, there is a lesson to be learned from failure, a test that must be overcome before we can move on. When we try to avoid failure we just face that same lesson again and again in a different context. We must find the way to overcome that challenge before we can move forward. That very lesson may be the critical step before a gigantic breakthrough.
Failure helps us learn to appreciate what we have. So often, we are always thinking about what we want or what we don’t have. Sometimes, failure helps us realize the blessings. It helps us get rid of what doesn’t work and cling to those things and people that make us better. We need to thank God for the unanswered prayers in our lives. I have always found that when a certain path in my life didn’t work out, it was because God was preparing a much better option, one that I couldn’t have even dreamed of for myself. Failure helps the successes seem that much sweeter.
Failure is certainly not an excuse to give up, to blame, or to settle for less. It is a great teacher, and if you listen, one that can make you better.Failure takes grit to work through it, the grace to face it, and a growth mindset to rise above. After all, as Henry Ford said, the only mistake is one from which we learn nothing.