Stepping on Failures to Reach Your Goals

by Jacob Abshire on January 6, 2015

Someone once noted, “Failure is merely a step on the ladder to success.” If that is true, and I think it generally is, then failure plays a key role in reaching your goals.

Let’s face it. Most people are not airing their defeats. I’ve never seen a Facebook post of someone’s collapse while pursuing a personal plan. Sure, we find humorous photos of each other from time-to-time, but nothing serious. In fact, these are often successful attempts at being funny—goal attained.

When I reflected on my last year, I saw some real catastrophes and stupid mistakes. I noticed how I could’ve been more decisive with some things and more discerning with others. Give it a try and see what you find.

Failures happen.

Moreover, if failure is a step on the ladder, failures happen a lot. Most often, our goals require decisions based on good hunches at the very least. We don’t know what tomorrow will bring (Ja. 4:14). It’s nonsense to think any of us can guess with perfect accuracy.

Failures do happen. And, since they do, we should be prepared to handle them wisely. We should—to borrow the metaphor—step on them effectively to rise to our goal. We have to answer discernibly:  what should I do with failure? I’m no sage, but here are some ideas.

Be Real with Failure

Some would like to gloss over failure like it never happened. Don’t be that person. Failures are real. They happen. Don’t act like they don’t. Acknowledge them. Admit them. Accept them.

Be Righteous with Failure

Some failures are due to sin. Consider one of my real failures from last year: pride prevented me from seeking wisdom with work. Pride goes before destruction, doesn’t it (Prov. 16:18)? In my case, it cost me some business. If your failure involves sin, repent and ask God to help you next time.

Be Reasonable with Failure

Failure is not always due to sin. Sometimes, it’s due to unforeseen circumstances or simply the chips not falling as expected. So be reasonable with failure; don’t give it too much weight. Don’t beat yourself up. In your acknowledgement, don’t drown in self-pity.

Be Resilient with Failure

Being reasonable with failure isn’t enough. We should also be resilient. Bounce back! Recover from the upset and get back on the ladder. Part of following Christ is adapting to change, knowing He is in control. Trust God and keep moving.

Be Resolute with Failure

Finally, it’s important to be resolute with failure at all times. Be determined to overcome when it happens. If we’re not totally surprised by failure, then we can be ready to conquer it next time. Don’t be content with failing the same way twice.

Has failure been your knock-out punch? In what ways can you use your failure to step up the game and climb to your goal?

A New Discipleship Resource

Creative Content for Christian Men

Instead of comments, I accept and encourage letters to the editor. If you want to write a letter to the editor, you can do so here.