By Jeff Borders
Let’s face it, we’re all failures. But failure has long been given a negative connotation. If no one else will, I will lead the crusade to recapture and rebrand failure into something that can be positive and transformative.
Our minds have been so conditioned to believe that if we fail, then we are worthless. Like the running back who fumbles the ball on the one-yard-line, we are led to believe that a singular failure that may have cost us a game, forfeits us any opportunity to compete for the rest of our career. So to have our lives become a mirror of this analogy, where one simple failure, or even a string of failures, leads us to believe that we can’t accomplish anything in our lives, and should therefore not even try. This is all exacerbated by an increasingly digital world, where we get to see the “insta-perfect” families and people, and we find that we start comparing ourselves to unrealistic expectations.
I see this truism played out in my family and friends. Too often we continue to beat ourselves up when we don’t live up to sometimes well-intentioned expectations we set for ourselves, or expectations we believe others are expecting of us. The drive to succeed is an inherent human characteristic, one that can be easily beaten down and suppressed. The world tells us that if we just succeed in this task or that, be the perfect husband or wife, or the best at our jobs, then everything will be great and wonderful in life.
That couldn’t be farther from the truth. Honestly, though, we will never be perfect. Last time I checked, there was only one person who fit that mold. That doesn’t mean, however, that we shouldn’t strive to become better than we were last week, or yesterday, or an hour ago for that matter. We are spiritual beings having a mortal experience. One filled with stinging one-yard-line fumbles. I think our perspective has to change, or we as a society will continue to slip into a fathomless hole of self-doubt and depression.
Failure, in reality, is something we should strive for. Because failure means that we are trying to move forward at something. If it wasn’t for repeated failure, the Wright brothers might have never been able to take that first flight at Kittyhawk. Without struggle and trial, Nikola Tesla wouldn’t have developed alternating current technology. If it wouldn’t have been for 39 blistering failures at water displacement, we wouldn’t have WD-40. Which alongside duct tape, I’m positive can fix almost anything. But I digress.
Back to the matter at hand. I believe that it’s only through repeated failure that we learn and grow, shaping and molding us into the types of people that God needs us to become. Failure not only teaches us humility, but it helps us recognize and identify where to change so that we can progress forward.
The same is true for our walk with God. Our loving Father does not expect perfection, but he does want us to try. He knows that we will stumble and fall, and stumble and fall, until eventually we make it to his presence tempered and tried, strengthened by experience and failure.
That is why it’s only through our failures that we can truly succeed in this life.
So what do you have to lose?
Get out there and be a failure.
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