In his autobiography “Long Walk to Freedom,” South African President Nelson Mandela, considers the balance needed when reflecting on the past and the future, on achievements and failures:Read More
“Success is the ability to go from failure to failure without losing your enthusiasm.”
– Winston Churchill
“If you’re constantly pushing yourself higher, higher, the law of averages – not to mention the myth of Icarus – predicts that you will at some point fall. And when you do, I want you to know this, remember this: There is no such thing as failure. Failure is just life trying to move us in another direction.”
– Oprah Winfrey
“Because, you know, resilience – if you think of it in terms of the Gold Rush, then you’d be pretty depressed right now because the last nugget of gold would be gone. But the good thing is, with innovation, there isn’t a last nugget. Every new thing creates two new questions and two new opportunities.”
– Jeff Bezos
Seven times the righteous man falls and gets up, While the wicked are mired by one misfortune.
– Proverbs 24:16
You certainly have stumbled and will stumble again…and in some battles you will fall, be conquered. But I promise you that after losing all these battles, you will emerge from the war with the crown of victory upon your head… “Lose battles but win wars.” Fools think that this means – even though he falls seven times, he rises again. But the wise know well that it means the nature of the rise of the righteous is through his seven falls.
– R’ Yitzchok Hutner, Pachad Yitzchok, Iggerot U’Kesavim, #128
“Some people despair of ever achieving their goals. They simply give up. But a wise person does not despair. King Solomon was wiser than us all and he said: A righteous person will fall seven times and get up. (Proverbs 24:16) That’s the way it works. We get up, fall and get up again. That is the key to it all.”
– R’ Shimshon Dovid Pincus, Nefesh Shimshon, Gates of Emunah, p. 123
In life, we sometimes fall, even collapse. It can be a disappointment or failure at work, a challenge to our health, a relationship in distress or a crisis of faith. In those moments, we can stay on the ground, wallow in our circumstance, see ourselves as victims or we can embrace the challenge, extract its lessons, come back stronger and better.
Although we may have realized that we learn our most valuable lessons the hard way, and that therefore we may tolerate our mistakes because of their educational value, we are apt to be intolerant of a mistake that we repeat. “I should have known better from last time,” one says.
We should stop berating ourselves. Some lessons are not learned so easily, even from experience. We are human. Rather than blame ourselves for a repetitive mistake, we should realize that the anguish we feel when we have failed to learn from a previous experience might just give us the emotional insight that can prevent that same mistake in the future.
God does not demand, or even request, perfection. He merely asks that we strive toward that goal. There are many stumbling blocks along the way. And we are bound to stumble, and stumble again. But it’s crucial that we see them as setbacks, not defining moments. Don’t see yourself as being incapable of moving past what you have done.
In fact, new mistakes can shed light on old mistakes. When we do something wrong once, we may make only a superficial repair. Soon afterwards, in a different situation, we again fall flat. We may continue to fall until we realize that all our failures point to a flaw in ourselves that we had never noticed. Once we have uncovered the real reason for our mistakes, we can correct it and greatly, genuinely improve ourselves.
Today, be your own cheerleader. Remember that even when you make the same mistake over and over again you believe you can turn failures into opportunities to grow and evolve.
Dr. Abraham J. Twerski