Embrace Failure

By | April 21, 2022

[April 21, 2022]  Embrace failure, learn and move on.  Remember that failure is only temporary.

Failure has been around since Adam and Eve ate the apple in the Garden of Eden.  They would “become like God” if they ate it, so claimed the serpent.  Sadly, Adam and Eve believed the lie and chose to eat the apple in disobedience to God, now called “the Fall of Man.”  Of course, they figured out quickly that eating the forbidden fruit was a massive failure on their part and that they were responsible (although Adam initially denied his actions).

Failure does not always stare us in the face.  The greatest failures of humankind occurred during the 20th Century.  Preventing Adolf Hitler’s rise to power and the Jewish Holocaust he perpetuated.  Stopping Mao’s “Great Leap Forward” and subsequent great Chinese famine.  And, of course, many more that took fewer lives but continue in their infamy, like the unsinkable Titanic, the safe Hindenburg airship, the Chornobyl nuclear plant, the NASA Challenger disaster, and many more.

The most common reason people fail is they have never set the criteria for success.  They drift toward some undefined goal, and when their life does not work out, they crash and burn, blaming others or fate along the way.

It is only natural that we want to avoid failure, even in the smallest of things.  Failure can bring embarrassment, resentment, and frustration.  However, the fact is that no great success was ever achieved without failure.  It may have been one failure or a series of failures, but failure is a necessary stepping stone to achieving our dreams.

If you really want something, my experience is that you can have it.  If you want it and are willing to reorient your life to make the probability that your desire will happen, it will occur.  Of course, you must sacrifice something worthwhile to achieve your goal.  That is the sacrificial idea that you cannot get everything you desire, and it will have a cost.

Failing to try, giving up, standing on the sidelines watching; these are the real failures because there is no willingness to make the required sacrifice.  If you want to be a medical doctor or any highly respected professional, there is a lengthy, difficult, expensive road ahead through higher education and apprentice training.  Not everyone is willing to make that sacrifice, nor are some even capable.  What is the point if you don’t at least try?

The symbolism of the forbidden fruit demonstrates the idea that humans have aims and the free will to move toward them.   But they must have the desire and the will to make the proper sacrifice.

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Please read my new book, “Our Longest Year in Iraq,” on Amazon (link here).

Author: Douglas R. Satterfield

Hello. I'm Doug and I provide at least one article every day on some leadership topic. I welcome comments and also guests who would like to write an article. Thanks for reading my blog.

20 thoughts on “Embrace Failure

  1. Guns are Us

    Let’s hope we recognize the importance of learning hard-won, valuable lessons from the times we fail (large and small failures). That is how we make ourselves better, happier, and freer.

    Reply
    1. Gilley the Brother

      …. and you think the whackos that populate the liberal-Marxist mindset will ever ’embrace failure?’ No, failure (in our eyes) is a feature of that idea that Western institutions “created by racism” are to be torn down. What is left? Chaos! They don’t know it but they have planted seeds of their own destruction.

      Reply
  2. Robo Cop II

    If you can’t accept failure and decide to stay on the sidelines, then okay. At least cheer for your team and give them encouragement.

    Reply
  3. American Girl

    Even as America fails dramatically under Pres Joe Biden there will be those who cover their eyes so that they don’t see the unfolding tragedies unleashed by ineptitude and downright stupidty of our political leaders. This shows how much great leadership is needed.

    Reply
  4. Colleen Ramirez

    “Failure does not always stare us in the face. ” Yep, and something most of us never realized. Maybe you fail in our life because of a series of poor decisions (not necessarily bad decisions, but just not the right ones). Slow failure happens all the time.

    Reply
  5. anita

    I enjoyed your article today, Gen. Satterfield. Thanks for a series of spot-on blog posts.

    Reply
      1. José Luis Rodriguez

        We all do. Even I print some of the articles and translate them for my family in Mexico.

        Reply
      2. Eddie Ray Anderson, Jr.

        This is what most of us are doing daily. If you want a snippet of leadership and how to live your life just a tad better, then come to this leadership blog by Gen. Satterfield and enjoy.

        Reply
  6. Shawn C. Stolarz

    There are many things we can focus on in our daily lives and losing a game or getting a raise at work are some of them. Take it all in stride. Promise yourself to do better. And, take the steps to do so. It’s a marathon not a 100 meter race. Take your time, set your goals, and prioriites and do your best.

    Reply
  7. The Kid 1945

    Gen. Satterfield, thank you for another great article on those things that, if we are paying attention, will do us some good in our lives. Your advice is what many young folks need. Most of us older folks (over 30) know how hard it is to win and to lose. Only by doing this can you truly be free to know yourself and the world. That is what makes us fully human and not some scardy cat liberal hiding in their room and wearing paper masks all day.

    Reply
    1. Randy Goodman

      Only by knowing failure can we really know ourselves. And sometimes we see things we don’t want to see. That provides the impetus to do better.

      Reply
  8. Willie Strumburger

    Excellent article on failure. But I will add that you cannot never enjoy victory without knowing a lot about failure and losing. ✔

    Reply
  9. Kerry 6

    If you are unwilling to fail or to lose a game or run out and fall on our face, you will never succeed in life or in the fun things that we humans do. Just saying.

    Reply
    1. Gil Johnson

      I lost plenty of baseball games as a kid. What I learned was humility and to practice my butt off to get better.

      Reply
      1. Autistic Servent

        … and I’ll bet you got no trophy for last place either. Why get a reward for finishing 8th place? Or last? Rewards to not win is fundamentally wrong.

        Reply
      2. Jeff Blackwater

        Me too. Made me madder than heck and it drove my motivation to do better and win more games.

        Reply

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