Sunday Thoughts (failure)

Guess what?

I’m a failure. And so are you.

How did that make you feel? I’m guessing, not very good. But stick with me for a minute here this Sunday…

It’s impossible to live in this world without failing at something.

Though I guess you could live your life so cautiously, with no risk and never stretching and never reaching for change, that you can’t help but succeed at things.

But then, that’s not really living, is it? Which is… failure by default.

It stinks to mess up. If you want something and you make a mistake, or you try something new and you’re not good at it, it stings.

And yet, failure is a stepping stone. It’s part of being a real life, living & breathing human being.

Just like a rainy, windy day makes that sunshine feel so much warmer, a few mess-ups make the taste of success that much sweeter.

Too often, when we set a goal or have a plan and then we go off course, we sulk. Or we self-sabotage. And we set ourselves back even further.

This happens in health a lot. There’s an experiment I recall where people trying to diet were given some pizza. They’re dieting but… everyone was given pizza. (Sneaky, isn’t it… pizza is SO good).

But here’s the thing. Half the folks were told it was a reward for doing so well on their plans so far. No big deal. Just get back on course and keep doing what you’re doing.

But the other half were told “uh oh, now you’ve failed.”

And guess who ate more cookies when they were set out in front of them. The “failures.”

They’d given up. They took it personal. They figured, “well, I’m already a failure… might as well.”

But just because you fail at something or have a misstep doesn’t mean YOU are a failure. It’s easy to blur the two things, but critical that you don’t combine the two.

Look at it this way. Abraham Lincoln was by many measures pretty good at failing.

He launched businesses that went belly-up. He lost a race for the state legislature. For Congress. For Senate.

And he didn’t become VP when he desperately wanted it.

But he turned out ok, didn’t he?

Now, I’m not going to argue with you about who’s the greatest basketball player of all time, but Michael Jordan is up there. (He’s the best, but I said… I’m not going to argue with you.)

We all remember the best shots and supreme confidence and highlight reel things he did in his career.

But he was on the losing side hundreds of times. He missed more than 9,000 shots over the years, some of which would have secured the game. But as he says, “I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”

So if life brings you a failure, look at it for what it is. A chance to learn, a time to hit the reset button.

And maybe it’s not a failure at all… but like Thomas Edison said, it’s merely one of “10,000 ways that won’t work.”

So you cross it off the list and try a different way.

Enjoy the rest of the weekend.

About Jeff Reagan, Editor, Jeff Reagan's Daily Health Newsletter for Conservatives

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