—by Nico Bougas

Failure is a fact of life. It is not something we like to talk about, in fact we would rather forget it, but consider some of the most prominent and most successful people that we may know of had their share of failure.

Never give up
Winston Churchill repeated a grade during elementary school and, when he entered Harrow, was placed in the lowest division of the lowest class. Later, he twice failed the entrance exam to the Royal Military Academy. He was defeated in his first effort to serve in Parliament. He became Prime Minister at the age of 62. He later wrote, “Never give in, never give in, never, never, never, never – in nothing, great or small, large or petty – never give in except to convictions of honour and good sense. Never, never, never, never give up.”  

Don’t allow others to define you
Albert Einstein did not speak until he was 4 years old, and did not read until he was 7. His parents thought that he was “sub-normal,” and one of his teachers described him as “mentally slow, unsociable, and adrift – forever in foolish dreams.” He was expelled from school and was refused admittance to the Zurich Polytechnic School. He later developed the general theory of relativity and is considered one of the most influential physicists of the 20th century.

“Most miserable man alive”
As a young man, Abraham Lincoln went to war as captain and returned a private. Afterwards, he was a failure as a businessman. As a lawyer in Springfield, he was too impractical and temperamental to be a success. He turned to politics and was defeated in his first try for the legislature, again defeated in his first attempt to be nominated for congress, defeated in his application to be commissioner of the General Land Office, defeated in the senatorial election of 1854, defeated in his efforts for the vice-presidency in 1856, and defeated in the senatorial election of 1858. At about that time, he wrote in a letter to a friend, “I am now the most miserable man living. If what I feel were equally distributed to the whole human family, there would not be one cheerful face on the earth.” He is generally considered to be one of America’s greatest presidents.

What was the secret of their success?
So what is it that turned these people, and many more, from failure to success? They didn’t quit. There are many highly gifted people that made shipwrecks of their lives because they encountered some obstacle and simply quit. The problems they faced seemed so insurmountable that they quit. Like the ten spies that were sent into the Promised Land – they saw the walled cities, they saw the size of the enemy, and they started quaking in their boots. They focused on the problem instead of the provider. They magnified the obstacles and minimised the promises and provision of God. Sure, there were challenges and dangers to face – but God was on their side. There was nothing too hard for the Lord.

Quitters never win
There are many people with great talent and gifts that never rise above the level of mediocrity. As soon as they encounter a problem or some discouragement, they fizzle out and run out of steam. The people who are most likely to be successful in life are not necessarily the best educated or the most talented. They are those that know how to persevere, that don’t give up, and don’t give in to discouragement. Remember, “Winners never quit and quitters never win.”

Article source: JOY! Magazine (Feb/March 2019)

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