August 24

Motivation Mondays: FAILURE

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“Failure is not fatal, but failure to change might be.” John Wooden

Motivation Mondays: FAILURE - Ways We Fail
Motivation Mondays: FAILURE – Ways We Fail
Motivation Mondays: FAILURE - Ways We Fail
Motivation Mondays: FAILURE – Ways We Fail

J.K. Rowling Speaks at Harvard Commencement: The Fringe Benefits Of Failure.

It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all, in which case you have failed by default. J. K. Rowling

What does Failure mean to you?  Have you had an epic fail? There are many ways we can interpret failure in our lives but some of the common ways can be: Failure to act – Failure to carry out a task, Failure to launch – Failure to anticipate, Failure to understand – Failure to perceive the outcome of events before us. On any given day, we are faced with opportunities to fail; we fail to communicate the facts,  tell the truth, express how we feel about a situation or even spread lies that create problems for us and others. All of these behaviors lead to some form of failure. In the worst case scenario, they can lead to accidents and the loss of life. Sometimes, we choose to not act because we are unprepared. We might choose to not respond at all because we perceive things differently, or simply choose the path of no return because we didn’t anticipate the depth of obstacles in our path. While failure is inevitable in daily life, we can mitigate it by being clear about our decisions, our point of view and our actions. Above all, own your S$%$t!

Recently, two events: The Ashley Madison Hack and the Inside Amazon Corp Culture reveal, were key examples of the epic failure (of those implicated) to communicate and address troubling matters either at home or on the job. When what we say is in conflict with what we do, failure is around the corner. Communication is a critical tool to help us avoid failures but, it is not a panacea for all that ails us. WE must work at improving our overall failure quotient by the actions we take. Regardless of what we end up doing, our propensity to fail is always around the corner and we might as well face it, embrace it, and work to resolve it.  We can, like Kullervo’s Curse, choose to hold all of life’s slights in our heart and seek revenge that costs us everything or we can, like the many celebs and ordinary folks we meet everyday, choose to get up, brush off the slights, and move forward. Life is like a labyrinth, with dead ends, wrong turns and other obstacles that can throw us off course, and we must decide when to quit and when to move forward. One thing I know for sure is that, if you are actively engaged in life, FAILURE is inevitable.

A Story: The Complaining Monk & The Monastery
There once was a monastery that was very strict. Following a vow of silence, no one was allowed to speak at all. But there was one exception to this rule. Every ten years, the monks were permitted to speak just two words. After spending his first ten years at the monastery, one monk went to the head monk. “It has been ten years,” said the head monk. “What are the two words you would like to speak?”
“Bed… hard…” said the monk.
“I see,” replied the head monk.
Ten years later, the monk returned to the head monk’s office. “It has been ten more years,” said the head monk. “What are the two words you would like to speak?”
“Food… stinks…” said the monk.
“I see,” replied the head monk.
Yet another ten years passed and the monk once again met with the head monk who asked,
“What are your two words now, after these ten years?”
“I… quit!” said the monk.
“Well, I can see why,” replied the head monk. “All you ever do is complain.”

“Failures, repeated failures, are finger posts on the road to achievement. One fails forward toward success.” C. S. Lewis

Motivation Mondays: FAILURE
Motivation Mondays: FAILURE – Ways we Fail

Failure Builds Character – Mythbusters’ Adam Savage: Full Video on Fora TV

Winning is great, sure, but if you are really going to do something in life, the secret is learning how to lose. Nobody goes undefeated all the time. If you can pick up after a crushing defeat, and go on to win again, you are going to be a champion someday. Wilma Rudolph

What Constitutes Failure? When we are unable to attain a goal, receive an expected outcome, or accomplish a task, we have failed at X. But that isn’t the final way we fail. We fail when we turn our backs, refuse to respond or get back up, or as some would say, we throw in the towel. But Failure isn’t always final and not an entirely “bad” thing. Even though FAILURE is inevitable, we don’t have to throw in the proverbial towel. Why?  Because there are some benefits to failure. Failure does build character as it forces us to face our flaws and limitations and overcome them. Failure teaches us humility, points us in a new direction that could be far more beneficial that our previous attempts, and gives us experience that we can use to correct future errors. When we accomplish tasks without friction or struggle, it is our human tendency to take it all for granted. Often, when we read success stories about people like OprahJ.K. Rowling and many others who struggled to accomplish their dreams, it is easy to forget that they went through a challenging period in their lives and had to accept other options while they battled to achieve their dreams.  It is the failing forward that gives us impetus to continue and not give up, and so, don’t write yourself off because a set of doors were slammed in your face. Pick your self up and consider Plan B. Only YOU can decide when to call it quits… then go for Plan B.

A Story: The Fear Of Failure
After winning several archery contests, the young and rather boastful champion challenged a Zen master who was renowned for his skill as an archer. The young man demonstrated remarkable technical proficiency when he hit a distant bull’s-eye on his first try, and then split that arrow with his second shot. “There,” he said to the old man, “see if you can match that!” Undisturbed, the master did not draw his bow, but rather motioned for the young archer to follow him up the mountain. Curious about the old fellow’s intentions, the champion followed him high into the mountain until they reached a deep chasm spanned by a rather flimsy and shaky log. Calmly stepping out onto the middle of the unsteady and certainly perilous bridge, the old master picked a far away tree as a target, drew his bow, and fired a clean, direct hit. “Now it is your turn,” he said as he gracefully stepped back onto the safe ground. Staring with terror into the seemingly bottomless and beckoning abyss, the young man could not force himself to step out onto the log, no less shoot at a target. “You have much skill with your bow,” the master said, sensing his challenger’s predicament, “but you have little skill with the mind that lets loose the shot.” via Suler/
The details for Motivation Mondays are below. Join in! The themes for July and August are:
07/06 – FREEDOM
07/13 – WORRY
07/20 – WEALTH
07/27 – GRACE

08/03 – TIME
08/10 – CONTROL
08/17 – PURPOSE
08/24 – FAILURE
08/31 – HOPE

More Below!
“The season of failure is the best time for sowing the seeds of success.” Paramahansa Yogananda

Motivation Mondays: FAILURE - Ways We Fail
Motivation Mondays: FAILURE – Ways We Fail

Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything – all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure – these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Steve Jobs

How do we overcome our Fear of Failure?  The fear of failure can lead us to fail. As ironic as that might sound, when we remain silent over matters of great importance to us, it is an act of moral failure. When we don’t make decisions that will empower us and enrich our lives we are sabotaging our success by opening the door to failure. The refusal to stand up and shift gears and define what works for you can been seen as failure. It doesn’t have to be the case because  each of us can choose what we will leave behind and how to move forward to accomplish our goals. As Steve Jobs say above, the recognition that time is short and death is imminent can be the jolt we all need to act in our best interest.  But it doesn’t have to be that extreme. We can begin by looking at a fears and working through them with some professional help. We can choose to try a different approach that works well with our style and way of thinking and then accept, with gratitude, our small steps to progress.  The main thing to remember about failure is that we can get to choose whether our experiences are mistakes/failures with life lessons that help us grow, or tragedies/failures that pin us down permanently. The choice is ours.

A Story: Three Days More
Suiwo, the disciple of Hakuin, was a good teacher. During one summer seclusion period, a pupil came to him from a southern island of Japan.
Suiwo gave him the problem: “Hear the sound of one hand.”
The pupil remained three years but could not pass this test. One night he came in tears to Suiwo. “I must return south in shame and embarrassment,” he said, “for I cannot solve my problem.”
“Wait one week more and meditate constantly,” advised Suiwo. Still no enlightenment came to the pupil. “Try for another week,” said Suiwo. The pupil obeyed, but in vain.
“Still another week.” Yet this was of no avail. In despair the student begged to be released, but Suiwo requested another meditation of five days. They were without result. Then he said: “Meditate for three days longer, then if you fail to attain enlightenment, you had better kill yourself.”
On the second day the pupil was enlightened. via 101ZenStories

Positive Motivation Tip:  Failure is inevitable. Our decision to get back up is imperative.

Motivation Mondays is open to anyone who wishes to share a motivational quote, photo, personal challenge or a post that encourages others to start the week on an upbeat note.
Basic Instructions: Each week, I will have a motivation word to help us create a response. (See listed words for the months above/below)
Email address: You may email or share your post as a comment and I will add it to the round-up of related posts. email it to: contact(@)mirthandmotivation(.)com
Category tag: – Share your post using Motivation Mondays
Twitter hashtag: – Use this on Twitter #MotvnM
Dedicated Page: There is a dedicated page for Motivation Mondays. It has the same instructions and will include other helpful tools and a link to the round-up
Facebook Page: MotivationOnMondays Join our page and add your post and/or any motivational piece you think will be helpful to others.
Facebook Community: We have a Facebook community forum to compliment the page. It serves as another way to share uplifting posts and thoughts. Please join in and add your voice.

Badge: – I created a fun badge using PicMonkey’s free photo editing tools. You can create your own, use WordPress’ integrated tool on your blog or you are welcome to use mine. (see dedicated page)
Tag: – Motivation Mondays
Hashtag: – #MotvnM

Related Posts

PHOTO CREDITS/ATTRIBUTIONS: Zen Stories via Read.Goodweb,  All Photos: Kullervo Cursing, Labyrinth, Holy Grail tapestry The Failure of Sir Launcelot, marriage fail, proposal fail, epic failFailure to Communicate, ostrich fail, Sadness, via Wikipedia and Others from my Personal Collection.

Until Next Time…
Ask. Believe. Receive. ©
Elizabeth Obih-Frank
Mirth and Motivation
Positive Kismet


#MotvnM, Failure, family, fear of failure, Happiness, inspiration, Motivation, Motivation Mondays, motivational stories, positive attitude, postaday, Zen Stories

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  • There are so many ways the word failure can be interpreted. I like to think that I don’t fail at anything, but keep trying until I get it right.

  • I love your Motivation Mondays! This really hit home and I am going to implement these ideas to not let failure make me feel any less motivated to be my best.

  • I hate saying it, but I feel we have to fail at things to succeed! Those failures teach us how to grow and do so much better the next time around 😉

  • To me, I feel like a failure when I don’t complete my goals or work tasks in the allotted time I’ve given myself. It helps me to try harder the next time and I love the feeling of being productive when I reach my goals.

  • I think we all have different definitions of what failure is. To most the answer is the same, but some of us are harder on ourselves than others.

  • Love this!! I’ve heard before that if you don’t fail a few times, you’ll never hit the mark! 🙂

  • Fear of failure definitely seems to lead to failure, or at least feeling like you failed. It’s difficult to overcome.

  • Failure is a chance to learn. And hopefully people take the chance to learn from the failure.

  • For me, I think when something doesn’t turn out the way I expect, it makes it feel like a failure. I like to think of my failures as lessons, me learning along the way.

  • I have had not one but several EPIC failures. My name for them now is fodder – for my growth. 🙂

  • Failure is the chance to learn and become better as person and on what you do. If you don’t have epic fails you don’t grow.

  • I completely agree that there is a multitude of benefits to failure. If we never learn the hows and whys of a failing at something, then how are we to recognize successes either?

  • Failure to me means a chance to learn, grow and try again. Failure means… never giving up!

  • Failing is not bad, it is to be expected. The road to success is paved with failure. Just a time to readjust your sails.

  • Thank you Elizabeth for this post. I am sure everyone has experienced failure at some point in their lives. I have recently read a quote that is so relevant and so true. Let me share it with you – “What we perceive as “Failure” is actually Delayed Success.”

  • Failure is apart of life. Hopefully we learn from our failures and do better the next time.
    Great article.

  • Failure can have many different meanings. Sometimes what is a success to one can even be a failure for another.

  • Failure, for me, is just pretty normal in pursuing your goal. Failure is not the end of the line. Thanks for sharing this inspiring article.

  • I am somewhere near achieving a doctorate in failure which luckily, in financial terms, can be acquired without having to attend any university, but the benefits of “Not achieving” although unsought are considerable. You can dream without being noticed and are never alone 🙂

  • Nice post. Failure is part of the natural order of things but unfortunately, it’s frowned upon by society that’s why most people have a fear of failure. What’s important is that we learn from our failures and strive hard to not commit the same mistake again. As most people say, when you commit the same mistake more than once, it speaks of a decision that you have consciously made.

  • Sometimes people have to experience failure in order to learn. Mistakes lead to failure but learning from those mistakes overcome failure in the future.

    Mhar Sefcik

  • What a great writing prompt. You did an amazing job illustrating the concept of failure with your stories.

  • We can’t be perfect. It’s a fact of life. Otherwise, we might as well be Jesus.

  • Reminds me of an old wisdom I got from an old reading: Failure is an opportunity to get up and continue the race. It makes a victory sweeter and even more meaningful.

  • I’ve definitely been afraid to fail early in my life. Now, I see it as more of a learning experience, which makes it less scary.

  • I really like what you’ve discussed here. SO often we want results and NOW. But failure is often part of the journey of bettering ourselves. I know I fear failure. But that fear can be crippling.

  • Monday was a start for a new week, so mondays starts with Positive things and a blessed monday

  • Failure isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Sometimes you have to fail so that you try something else or to learn a valuable lesson. The only time failing is bad, is when you stay down or give up. Next time you fail get back up and try something else. 🙂

  • Many times people are afraid of failure because they have failed so much. I like to think of every failure as a learning experience. The trick is to, in fact learn so you wont fail at the same task twice. Life is a learning experience and I encourage others to learn as much as they can!

  • One of the things I’ve learned in life is that, if we stay in a good mindset, a seeming “failure” can actually be a catalyst to our biggest successes. I remember a huge setback in the summer of 2011 led to the huge business success I had in 2012. I had to stay patient and stay positive for that to happen. Thanks for the invitation to consider the meaning of “failure.”

  • Very interesting thoughts. I think most people are afraid of failure, and that’s what keeps us in the ruts we are in.

  • To me, failure is defined by not trying. If I try something and ultimately failed at it, I don’t view it as failure since you still gain experience and knowledge which is invaluable

  • We all failed once in our life and its normal but what matters most is that we learn to stand up and learn from our mistake.

  • Failure is not the end, we can try again until we achieve our goals.

  • I just posted about lessons we learn…this goes along with my post. We learn from our failures. It’s not always easy, but always important. Thanks!

  • I loved this >Failure is inevitable. Our decision to get back up is imperative.That really spoke to me. Thank you for sharing.

  • I love the comment by J. K. Rowling. I loved how she used her divorce and other hard life experiences to motivate her to catapult her writing career!! I have always found that so inspiring!

  • Failure to me = a learning experience. A chance for God to intervene when I’ve done everything I could and still not make it work. My weakness is His strength. So each time I fail, I praise God for another lesson and the opportunity for Him to work through me and my weakness. 🙂

  • Failure is unavoidable, it is part of our life. We just have to deal with our failures so we won’t stop from achieving our dreams.

  • I love what JK Rowling said! It’s very true. Living involves failure. And having no failures in life simply means we have never lived at all. I believe that we fail to learn… to improve on something or even ourselves because no one in this world is perfect. We should remind ourselves that failure exist to challenge us for the better.

  • Great topic. It’s one that always gets me thinking because I’m so scared of failing at what I’m good at. 🙁 Needed to read this.

  • Failure-we have all experienced it at one time or another. If at dirst you don’t succeed -try try again. As long as you keep trying nothing is a true failure.

  • That story of the complaining monk is so frustratingly hilarious — it actually took him thirty years to say that he wanted to quit. He could have said “I quit” on the first chance. Funny how the additional time in the monastery did not make him change his mind. – Fred

  • I agree sometime failure brings SO much more learning than anything else will. Sometimes failure is exactly what you need to grow.

  • Failure/s is the best teacher we have…we do mistakes and yet after we learned we strive to aim for the best way not to fail again.

  • That Ashley Madision hack has been crazy to watch it unfold. So many secrets kept from people they are suppose to love.

  • I guess I always experience failure. There’s one epic fail during my college days, thesis even! LOL. Anyway, I don’t really mind as long as I am alive. Got through it quick! 😀

  • Oh, I’ve definitely had quite a few moments of failure and EPIC failures. All you can do is to keep trying. Pick yourself up and try again- thanks for the motivational tips!

  • Everyone has experienced failure at one point or another in their lives. The trick is to learn from the experience, and to turn it into a motivator going forward.

  • totally agree with John Wooden’s words. Failure comes in all aspects of life, but it shouldn’t kill us but make us stronger.

  • Failure is a stepping stone of success. In fact, you learn more when you fail and it prepares you for the bigger challenges.

  • I love that speech made by JK Rowling! It was trending for the longest time! But I guess albeit motivating, it needs alot of perseverance to follow through too!

  • I love the quote by John Wooden – that the failure to change might be fatal. When one is so comfortable in status quo, he/she seldom take any effort to improve and that itself constitutes “death” of the soul.

  • What a great blog! What you write about failure is true, we must dare to fail, we must trust that we can not be happy before we try, no matter if we fail every now and again.

  • Oh my G! I love your site, full of inspiration and motivation. Keep it up! Thank you.

  • I have to admit this is totally the best commencement speech I have ever heard. I so love it. I believe in moving forward and to be great, you need to have failure during this time. You cannot learn if there is no failure. Thanks so much for sharing.

  • I’m learning that failure is really just feedback. It’s a chance to take the lessons learned and try again with more knowledge.

  • I love the quote you shared by JK Rowling. I think sometimes I live too cautiously. Thanks for the Motivation.

  • It doesn’t matter how many time we fail what matter is how we stand up, shake it off and move forward.

  • I’ve always seen failure as another stepping stone to success. It took a while to have that mindset, tho. 🙂

  • Sometimes we really need to fail before truly being able to progress. This is definitely something I’ve experienced in my college course and I can’t say I regret any of it! 😀

  • To me failure is a stepping stone and a great way to learn things on your own. The joy of accomplishment after those failures is superb. Not everyone likes or have the patience to try and try again but if they can do so nothing can beat it.

    • “failure is the mother of all success”. That’s a Chinese saying. I firmly believe it. If you do not try, you might never fail, and will also never learn enough to to succeed eventually.

  • Failure isn’t the end. It is actually a great motivation for success… So instead of fearing failure, be open and embrace it and learn from it. Fall down 7 times, get up 8. 🙂

  • I LOVE the opening quote on this post, so inspirational and such a great reminder to keep trying, even if you fail! Thanks for sharing so much inspiration, all the time. 🙂

  • Failure is so important to our growth. It’s taken me a long time to understand that.

  • Whenever I fail miserably at something I have to keep reminding myself about Oprah, Steve Jobs, and JK Rowling. It does make me feel better.

  • “Failure is not fatal, but failure to change might be.” This quote from John Wooden is so true. Hopefully, that change is for the good though.

  • Failure is the beginning of success,. Its not how many times you failed but standing up after each defeat.

  • Agree that failure is not failure unless ‘we turn our backs, refuse to respond or get back up, or as some would say, we throw in the towel’. As long as we can learn a lesson from the experience, we didn’t fail.

  • I used to be afraid of failure, but not anymore. You live and you learn.

  • It’s important not to get hung up on failure and to keep moving forward. That is the way of life, to fall and get up again.

  • Failure surely is one of the best ways to learn and to grow. Without struggles, we limp through life and miss out on so much. Great post!

  • I have never really had BIG failure. Lots of small ones, and I’m sure they made me who I am today!

  • Oh, I’ve failed so many times at so many different things, and I still keep on failing. I guess what really matters is not how much you fail but how much you learn from failing.

  • Failure is part of success. You’ll never succeed if you haven’t failed. Failing is learning.

  • Although failure is painful, I always consider it as a sign of a new beginning. That something is better is in store for me. I also take failure as a humbling experience when I have learned to accept things as it is and vowed my head as God is preparing a much better thing for me.

  • I don’t think I’ve really failed, i mean, nothing like an EPIC failure. But I haven’t always been successful. Others may say I have failed at some things, but I look at those as opportunities to do better.

  • Reposting because I got no confirmation…. I look at failures as opportunities to do better. That way, I don’t have to look back and feel bad about them.

  • Successful people today also been into a lot of failures. It makes a person stronger and wiser.

  • Failure is your way to improve yourself. As they say, experience is the best teacher. Applause to this motivation! 🙂

  • Failure is a part of life, it also serves as lesson for us to be able to survive on life’s trials.

  • Failure means we need to improve. There are instances I failed but these failures made me stronger and better.

  • Failure doesn’t mean the end of the world, it is actually teaching as to be strong and persevere.

  • Failure is something to learn, to be more stronger and be determined to do better next time. It’s not a sign of loosing or failing but a sign on much we learn from it.
    Great post, Sis:)

  • we are all bound to fail sometimes but the important thing is that we get back up.

  • Failure doesn’t mean that you are already a failure. it only means that you haven’t succeeded yet.
    Most of the time, having failure make a person strong and learn a lesson.

  • I agree, failing is a natural thing to happen but we must remember that when we do fail, we should change so next time we’d be successful.

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