In an article in Leadership magazine, J. Wallace Hamilton cautioned: “The increase of suicides, alcoholism, and even some forms of nervous breakdowns is evidence that many people are training for success when they should be training for failure. Failure is far more common than success; poverty is more prevalent than wealth, and disappointment more normal than arrival.”
The good news is this, though failure occurs far more frequently than success, failure is not the final chapter and failure is actually part of success—failure, trial and error, is typically the path for reaching success.
Consider the following. Charles Dickens, famed author of A Christmas Carol, Oliver Twist, Great Expectations, and David Copperfield, was the highest paid writer of his time. Yet he did not receive a single cent for the first nine stories he published.
Lawrence Tibbet became a Metropolitan opera star. Yet the first time he was the inside of the Metropolitan Opera House was in the standing-room-only section, because he couldn’t afford a seat.
John D. Rockefeller attained legendary status because of the fortune he amassed. Yet he started life hoeing potatoes at four cents an hour.
Frederick Austerlitz (not exactly a household name), was born in Omaha, Nebraska. He went to Hollywood with stars in his eyes. He landed a film test in 1933. The director’s assessment: “Can’t act, can’t sing, balding; can dance a little” and advised him to go back to the corn fields of Nebraska. Yet Frederick Austerlitz recovered from this rejection and went on to star in such movies as Top Hat, Swing Time, The Gay Divorcee, Holiday Inn, Easter Parade, On the Beach, Finian’s Rainbow, and many others. This man who “couldn’t sing” went on to sing and croon his way into hearts everywhere. And though he could only “dance a little” in 1933, Frederick Austerlitz, a.k.a. Fred Astaire, went on to be recognized world-wide as a consummate dancer.
Though failure and disappointment come your way, don’t let it stop you. With God’s guidance and help and your own persistence success is inevitable. The Scripture says, “For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord; plans for good and not for evil, plans to give you a hope and a future” (Jer. 29:11).
Dear Father in heaven, fortify my spirit so I may stand firm when those days of failure and disappointment come. Guide me in the path I should travel and help me to steadily pursue my life’s goals until they become reality. Amen.