Thomas Edison is quoted as having said:
“Results? Why, man, I have gotten lots of results! If I find 10,000 ways something won’t work, I haven’t failed. I am not discouraged, because every wrong attempt discarded is often a step forward….” (Source: www.thomasedison.com)
I have been thinking about failure lately. At least I have been thinking about how most of us define failure. Whenever situations do not come to the conclusions that we anticipate, we often jump to the conclusion that we have failed. However, Edison and others remind us that we have another option available to us in our thoughts.
As I read stories of prophets and religious leaders, I am clearly aware of the fact that they must have stopped at times and determined that the had been failures. In the Bible I see many instances of such feelings expressed:
Yet when I surveyed all that my hands had done
and what I had toiled to achieve,
everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind;
nothing was gained under the sun. (Ecclesiastes 2:11, NIV)
Moses reported this to the Israelites, but they did not listen to him because of their discouragement and harsh labor. (Exodus 6:9, NIV)
When you tell them all this, they will not listen to you; when you call to them, they will not answer. (Jeremiah 7:27, NIV)
I am sure that the writer of Ecclesiastes, Moses, and Jeremiah felt like they were failures. Yet their work did have an impact.
It is important to remember that we are only failures if we view ourselves that way. Like Edison, I must realize that all the attempts teach me something and with persistence there is possibility of break through.