Don’t let failure have the last say


An inspirational speaker began his seminar by holding up a $20 bill. He asked the two hundred people in the room, “Who would like this twenty-dollar bill? Hands started going up. “I am going to give this twenty-dollars to one of you”, he said. “But first, let me do this,” and he proceeded to crumple the bill. He then asked, “Who still wants it?” Still hands were in the air. “Well,” he continued, “what if I do this?” And he dropped it on the ground and started to grind it on the floor with his shoe. He picked it up, now crumpled and dirty. “Now who still wants it?” Still hands went into the air. “My friends, you have all learned a very valuable lesson. No matter what I did to the money, you still wanted it because it did not decrease in value. It was still worth twenty dollars.”

We all should be like the $20 bill. Many times, in our lives, we are dropped, crumpled and ground into the dirt by the decisions we make and the circumstances that come our way. We feel as though we are worthless. But no matter what has happened or what will happen, we will never lose our value. This never-say-die spirit is important because study shows that those who easily give up with life’s struggles are those who make one or two failures with their goals in life and right away conclude that they are useless. They feel that they don’t have “the right stuff” or they simply are not good enough. It’s a wrong mindset. If it’s a wrong mindset then it can be corrected. Only talent has a limit but attitude and mindset can always change and grow.

We all make mistakes. It took me some time to learn this reality. But after grasping that mistakes will always be our lot, especially when you are trying to do a number of things, it now has become a good teacher and companion.

One great lesson I’ve learned from failure is that it is just part of the process that leads you to success. Before you can graduate you need to fail in some exams first. Before you succeed in a particular business, you will have to fail trying out different business ventures first. Failures are just stepping stones. The trick in overcoming failures is not to give up. You might fail quite a number of times with some subjects in college but come graduation time all of those failures are forgotten. Success will have the last say.

This reminds me about death. When we die many would say, death will always have the last say. That death will always win over us no matter how we have lived our life. I beg to disagree. Our Lord Jesus Christ has changed all that. Resurrection will have the last say if we have lived a God-guided life.

That’s why I always love redemption stories. Whenever I hear or read athletes or movie personalities who have had some big failures in their lives, even those that are so scandalous, but later on were remorseful, apologized to whomever they have hurt and have learned from their past, these flawed people are still good role models for us. Why? Because in one way or another we are all redemption stories.

We all make mistakes and have to get back on our feet. Unless of course we have not learned from our failures and are still busy doing it. But no matter how bad we have failed in the past, all of that can be corrected by a thing called forgiveness.

Forgive yourself and ask for forgiveness from God and to those who have been hurt by your failures (parents, siblings, friends, etc.) and begin again. While there’s life there’s hope. We can always begin again no matter how bad we have fallen and whatever is the situation after we have fallen. Don’t mend a mistake with another mistake. If you don’t learn from your mistakes, things will get worse and may seem hopeless when there is no such a thing.

We all can have a happy ending by doing the right thing. Just don’t let failure have the last say.

Engr. Carlos V. Cornejo

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