Let’s talk about a sensitive subject – failure.
Failure is a part of life. All of us have experienced it and, most likely, none of us enjoy it. Failure can hurt at a deep emotional level and, depending on how badly we think we failed, the hurt can take a long time to heal.
Failure is one of the main ways we learn and ignoring it is dangerous. Consider a child who touches a hot stove: learning that touching the hot stove hurts helps the child to not make that same mistake again. On the other hand, excessive dwelling on failure is also dangerous: a child who never touches a stove again because of a failure is likely to go through life malnourished.
If we use it properly, failure is a useful tool that helps us grow. Instead of fearing failure, we need to accept that it will happen eventually and plan for it. A good failure plan has at least two parts: first, what we will do when we fail and second, how we will deal with failure emotionally.
When we fail, we need to take an honest look at what went wrong. We then need to address those things within our control that led to failure and improve upon them. For example, if we didn’t play a passage well, we can use good practice techniques to refine our performance.
Some things are not within our control. We need to recognize that this can happen and understand that all we can do is our best. No matter our level of preparation, sometimes things just go wrong. When this happens, the best thing to do is to find other opportunities where our talents will be more appreciated.
No matter how much failure hurts, we can’t let it control us. We must pick ourselves up and continue onwards. The hurt associated with failure is very real. We must address it, but we cannot let it smother us. The only time that failure is permanent is if we give up.
Failure is the building material of success. When handled well, failure strengthens us and puts us on the path to eventual achievement.
As always, there’s a catch. There’s a special form of failure called sin. When we fail in that way, repentance is the way forward. Repentance is more than just doing better. Repentance requires contrition, improvement, confession, and restitution if possible. Repentance, while difficult, is the easiest way. All other ways are much more difficult.
If you have failed, you are not alone. Don’t give up! Find a constructive way to engage your failure and try again.