Do Not Fear Failure

One of Teddy Roosevelt's most memorable speeches talked about how it's not the critic who counts, but the one who is actually fighting in the arena. About this person, he observed, "Who at the best, knows in the end the triumph of high achievement and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place will never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat."

Far too many people are paralyzed into inaction because of their fear of failure. They fear the jeers of the crowd or the stinging remarks of the critics or the possibility of simply looking foolish and being laughed at - so they don't try at all. And they waste life's greatest opportunities because they fear the possibility of failing more than they look forward to the chance of great success. Further, they cheat themselves out of the character building benefits that only failing while daring greatly can bring.

Chances are that you cannot name the baseball player who in the 1930's held the all-time record for striking out, but it's a safe bet that you can name the man who had the home run record for the same time period. Interestingly, both records were held by the same player. Yet no one remembers Babe Ruth for being prone to striking out. What they do remember is that he was one of the greatest baseball players of all time. Can you imagine if Babe feared failure? We likely would have never heard of him because he probably would have never played in the first place.

So what is it that you have been putting off because you fear that you might fail? The fact is that God has created us for greatness - not mediocrity. The proof is in the price that He was willing to pay for just the possibility of our success - His one and only Son! If the Creator has placed that much confidence in our chances for success, can we not at least be willing to risk a failure or two in the quest of a life well lived and in the ultimate prize of heaven?

But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:13-14, NIV