Success Breeds Success, But What About Failure?
I read a quote the other day that said, "The successful man is the one who falls down six times, but gets up seven." I'm not sure who wrote it, but it is definitely food for thought, as well as being completely true. Often we hear motivational speeches that tell us that success breeds success, which it certainly does. But what happens when we fail? It's bound to happen. No one is successful one hundred percent of the time. How you react to failure, and what you do right after you've experienced the sting of a setback or perceived defeat is vital to reaching your ultimate goals.
So, When We Fail...What Should We Do?
A perfect place to look for the answers are right in the Word. Both the Old and New Testaments are filled with stories about individuals who failed miserably, but when they made the decision to keep going instead of giving up, success came in the end...and was usually very sweet!
Let's take a look at just one individual. His name was Joseph. Now Joseph was the somewhat overconfident son of Jacob. He had ten older brothers who conspired against him and eventually sold him into slavery. Was it Joseph's fault? Of course not. Although we should address the fact that Joseph could have handled his father's blatant favoritism toward him with a bit more humility. Since he didn't, it becomes a perfect example of how much of the world still works today. The Bible tells us that there is nothing new under the sun, or in simpler terms, nothing really changes much.
In today's world, employees who perform their jobs with excellence and operate with confidence and integrity are often viewed much like Joseph was by his brothers. Employees who gain the respect of and genuine appreciation of their superiors are often viewed as a threat to others who may choose to operate on a different level. Joseph's brothers were jealous and wanted to be rid of him. They sold him into slavery. Today, employees can turn against co-workers who seem to be more successful than they are, or enjoy bonuses or raises that others aren't receiving. Instead of selling them into slavery, they may try to sabotage their efforts or speak badly about them to superiors in an effort to taint how they are viewed.
It's a Trust Issue
Ok, so what does this have to do with failure? You may be thinking to yourself, "Clearly....Joseph didn't fail. He was mistreated." Yes, but in Joseph's mind, he had every opportunity to feel like a failure. Miles from home, wrapped up in a bad situation, and with even more messes for him to experience in his near future. Read the story for yourself and you'll see what I mean. Joseph had every opportunity to give up, throw in the towel, and say, "What's the use." But he did not...and neither should you.
The Word tells us what to do in Psalm 37:5: Commit everything you do to the Lord. Trust in Him and he will act on your behalf. Sometimes, when we are right in the middle of what FEELS like failure and LOOKS like failure, we can get caught up in the moment and just give up. But in the end, after believing and staying on the right path, Joseph eventually held such a high position in Egypt that he was able to save an entire nation from starvation. God will get you to where you need to be. He will build your success. It may not seem like it at first, and over time you may feel completely forgotten, but keep the faith.
The bottom line here...Success breeds success? Yes, certainly. But God's ways are not our ways and sometimes what seems like failure will soon have the sweet smell of success. Stay on the path!