Sunday, October 30, 2011

Failure?

PLEASE WATCH THIS SHORT VIDEO BEFORE READING


  • Failure? Hardly a word anyone would associate with Michael Jordan. Yet, when he lists his failures, they are eclipsed by his extraordinary success. 
  • Reggie Jackson, a.k.a. Mr. October, struck out 2,597 times - the all time leader in major league baseball strike outs. 
  • Henry Ford failed in business five times before he succeeded with the Ford Motor Company. 
  • Bill Gates, Harvard drop out, and Paul Allen started with Traf-O-Data which crashed and burned before Microsoft. 
  • Einstein did not speak until he was four and could not read until he was seven, causing his parents and teachers to think he was mentally disabled, slow and anti-social. Eventually, he was expelled from school and denied admittance to the Zurich Polytechnic School.


This list above could go on and on and fill pages with people who have failed in their lives. What separates these people from others is that they got up, dusted themselves off and got back into the fight. They didn't see the deck stacked against them. They didn't decide to become victims. They didn't wallow in self pity. They overcame the obstacles that were placed in their way and REFUSED to give up. They didn't blame others and took responsibility for their lives and decisions.

Now this will probably elicit some hate mail, but I've had it before. Currently there are demonstrations around the country claiming to be the 99%. Occupy Wall Street, Oakland, Denver, Washington, D.C. etc... Here is my take on this situation. These are made up of numerous groups of people, but I want to look at the group my generation created. My generation made the "Everyone Gets a Trophy Generation". As our kids played soccer and T-Ball - everyone got a trophy. In fact, I remember my daughter crying after a soccer game which had ended in a tie, because God forbid we destroy a child's self-esteem by having a team lose. I asked her why she was crying and she said, "We never win!'

Here is a news flash! Life is not fair! There will be rich people, there will be poor people and a bunch in the middle. In California they wanted to get rid of grades, just in case some kid might be damaged with an "F". These Trophy Kids were then thrust into the competitive world of earning a living. Face it, if you are doing "F" work you will not have a job. We live in a cut-throat and highly competitive economy. Having your boss tell you to gather up you things and get out is not a trophy.

Now that we live in a global community the American education system is ranked "average"; America is ranked 14th out of 34 countries in reading, 17th for science and below average 25% for math. (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/12/07/us-falls-in-world-education-rankings_n_793185.html
We haven't done our kids a favor. The competition is now global. A large number of our kids are entering a marketplace that is looking for skill-sets in reading, science and math - not how well you can do on Halo on an X-Box.

I have failed in business, marriage and more things than I would care to admit, however,  I take responsibility for my failures. I am not a victim, I just get up each day and keep putting one foot in front of the other. I am not speaking from some positive thinking rah rah place. I know what failure feels like. I know what it is like to try and get to sleep, knowing that I really screwed up. I know we need to have time for our own private "pity-party", but I also know that one has to always get up and keep going. If you have read my previous blogs, you know I did not come from some Lilly white upper class suburb. I have fought for everything I have and will continue to do so as long as I have breath. Does that make me superior? No! The people listed at the top of this page are people who experienced failure and kept moving forward.

I believe my faith in God, the support of loved ones and belief in myself have allowed me to persevere. These are tough times for everyone and now is the worst time to blame the government, the banks or the people in the black helicopters. You have it within yourself to get up and start doing. If you have lost your job, take one that is "below" you. A generation in the 1930's faced tough times and made it through! We have all been spoiled thinking we are owed something that we have to earn. 

Our failures define us. How do you respond? Success is easy and it often blinds us to how tough this world is. Stand up and say - THIS FAR NO FURTHER! Decide what you will do to keep moving and do it. If you are a believer, remember these words:

"We rejoice in our sufferings,
knowing that suffering produces endurance,
and endurance produces character,
and character produces hope,
and hope does not put us to shame,
because God's love has  been poured into our hearts
through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us"
(Romans 5:3-5 -- ESV) 

Notice it doesn't start with hope, it starts with suffering. Hope in the New Testament is dynamic, active, directive and life sustaining. Today we can easily substitute "wish" for hope - I hope I get a new bike. Biblical hope is action based on faith and is brewed out of a life of suffering, endurance and character.

Pray that the God of peace can strengthen you to have hope.

Peace 
~Al