You’ve failed. You’re flat on your back with the dry taste of dust in your mouth. All you want to do now is bury yourself in a hole because the embarrassment of failure is killing you.
Maybe that’s where you’ve been. Perhaps that’s where you’re at now or where you will be tomorrow. Everyone has to experience defeat at least once in order to be considered human. That may come by not achieving a goal or by letting someone down. It may come in the form of not living up to your own expectations. How you’ve failed isn’t the most important thing.
It is your response to defeat that determines your true greatness.
In doing research for my third novel, “Bloodties,” I came across an article about the tough fighting the WW1 Allied forces faced at the Battle of the Somme. Intense German
fortifications prevented the quick victory that the French and British leadership had planned for and the Somme became a deadlocked battle with over one million men on all sides killed, wounded or captured. Talk about setbacks! But the British commanders applied the principle I’m proposing here and learned strategic lessons that ultimately contributed to Allied victory at the end of the war in 1918.
Some men see defeat as a chance to give up, to escape the pressure of trying again. That kind of thinking is more dangerous than failing itself. Instead, own up to your mistakes and then look at the situation as an opportunity to improve.
Too many want to pass the blame onto someone else for their own wrongs. You’re texting and driving but the accident is the other person’s fault because the driver stopped his/her car unexpectedly.
If you take the “pass-the-buck” approach, you’ll miss out on all the lessons defeat can teach you. Blaming someone/something else for your mistakes is like skipping class: it only leads to more failure. 🙂
Don’t pretend you didn’t mess up. Admit it. Apologize and face the consequences. Then get out of the emotional part and take an honest look at the situation. Ask yourself:
- What went wrong?
- What should I change?
- How am I going to fix this?
When you look at the situation correctly you’ll realize that every fiasco is a chance for you to learn more about yourself. This kind of information can be priceless.
How do you respond under pressure? If you spent more time praying or reading God’s Word would you have given into that temptation? Do you lean more to the selfish or selfless side of things?
We humans are complex and we don’t really see our true selves when things are going well. It takes the bitter taste of frustration to reveal the real “us”. Make the most of defeat. Instead of whining or crying, draw a lesson from the situation. You’ll come out of it stronger than you ever were before.
Have a thought/comment? Have you experienced this in your own life? I’d love to hear from you.