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Living Above Failure

In life, you will face obstacles that will challenge you, and if dealt with improperly, they can keep you grounded forever. You will face failures, but you must learn to deal with them effectively and with the right attitude. Your attitude is what determines if you will rise above the failures of the past. John Maxwell in his book Failing Forward says, “The difference between average people and achieving people is their perception of and response to failure.” Your response to the circumstances of your life has everything to do with how much of life you will enjoy and whether you will succeed in life.

You have a responsibility to maintain the right attitude when you encounter challenges along the way. Having the wrong attitude can keep you wandering and wasting time. Many people do not make progress because they wallow in the pit of their past failures rather than look ahead. They try to blame something or someone for what went wrong. This is the wrong attitude to failure. You must take responsibility for your life and your actions. Learn from each mistake and failure. Maintain a positive attitude. Despite the fear of failure and uncertainty of the future, take a step of faith. Reject the notion that you are a failure because you slipped. Instead, get back up. Revisit your plan of action, and take a go at your goals again.

To be successful, you must learn to isolate the situations that have gone wrong in your life as failed attempts rather than labeling your entire journey as a failure. Thomas Edison, who is noted to have attempted to create the light bulb, had about two thousand blunders, but he labeled them as two thousand ways not to make a light bulb. Stop personalizing failure. Do not internalize it. Separate the incident from yourself, and understand that you have all it takes to succeed.

Successful people have learned to have a different outlook on the setbacks they have faced in life. They have learned that failure is transient and part of the process toward success. The fact is that most people don’t fail; they simply stop trying. Ask yourself this question: did you stop trying because you failed, or did you fail because you stopped trying?

Whatever obstacles you may be facing in your life currently should not be a deterrent toward your success. You should know that your life can change if you are willing to take on a new attitude toward failure. Your will is a key determinant to whether you succeed or remain a failure; success belongs to the man who simply wills to do it.

Be determined to overcome your setbacks. You may have tried your hands on different business ventures that were unsuccessful in the past, but don’t let that get you down. John Maxwell in his book, Failing Forward, stated that on the average entrepreneurs fail 3.8 times before they finally make it in business. You may have failed at something many times, but that doesn’t make you a failure. You only become a failure when you stop trying. Find out what went wrong, get back up, learn a better way to do it, and execute.

If you have tried your hands on something and it failed, don’t wait in your lowly state on a hope and a prayer. Rather, pick yourself up and act while you pray and hope. Begin to act based on your last conviction. Your initial conviction was for a reason. If it did not work the first time, it does not mean it was wrong. Pick yourself up, and get into action. Understand that there is not much value on the idea of being fortunate. People create their fortunes by their own decisions and actions. Create your own fortunes in life by working hard, practicing self-discipline, remaining persistent, and making personal growth a daily priority. If you have failed while doing these, it’s nothing out of this world. Just dust yourself up, pick up the wreckage, and build it into your success. In addition to this, when you position yourself to receive the blessings of a gracious God, others who don’t know any better will tag you as fortunate.

It is better to risk failure while aiming high than to succeed while aiming low. Theodore Roosevelt—soldier, explorer, and former US president—once remarked, “Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs even though checkered by failure, than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much because they live in the gray twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat.”

Don’t let your past failures keep you trapped in defeat. Understand that great leaders have risen in times of great adversity. Great businesses have risen in times of economic austerity. Your adverse circumstances are no different; look for the opportunity within, and let greatness rise from within you. If you are not happy with where you are in life―a job, relationship, school work―you can make a change.

Was this inspiring? If so, what plans will you make to keep you working towards the fulfillment of your destiny? Leave a comment…

This was an excerpt from my new book Power Points for Success.


  • Imuh

    December 07, 12 2012 11:27:51

    Thank you for your beautifully uplifting piece on BellaNaija from where I was directed here. I’ve read and even pasted many quotes on my wall, such as “If you knew the power of your thoughts, you would never think a negative thought” -Peace Pilgrim, “People who expect the best, usually get what they expect” – Lisa McInnes-Smith, yet Moyo, i keep on doubting and doubting and pulling negative energy to me. God has come through for me in so many ways that I really should not doubt his omnipotence anymore, but due to the few times I havent gotten an answer to my prayers, i let the devil plant seeds in my heart. I have just finished my Masters in the UK and the thought of not yet having a job to return to in Nigeria in a month’s times, is draining me. I know that ultimately, the power lies in my hands to change my thought process, but how do i go about it please?

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