Every one of us has goals we perceive as meters of success here in this life. As part of our earthly progression, we are given challenges that allow us to grow. After all, that was one of the reasons why Heavenly Father sent us to this mortal world. The adversary, on the other hand, always does his best to stunt our growth until we stop trying. Instead of helping us see the blessings of failure, Satan convinces us that our mistakes are final, and that we have no chance of succeeding anymore.
However, the Lord always wants us to know that failures are just part of the journey. President Thomas S. Monson gave a powerful reminder of God’s faith in us when he said “One of God’s greatest gifts to us is the joy of trying again, for no failure ever need be final.” With the help of the people who love and support us, and the power of prayer as a guide, we canl have the chance to see the blessings of failure.
Failure makes us re-evaluate our choices
Failure can be attributed to being unprepared, underprepared or just poor performance. Failures help us to recognize that the path to success is the same as going into battle – when we are prepared, there is nothing to fear. Failing helps us identify things that we need to improve on. We can ask our leaders and mentors around us who have experienced failure, what did they do to overcome it and move forward. Above all we can ask our Heavenly Father to help us identify our own inadequacies, because He knows us better than we know ourselves.
Failure is an essential part of progress. It helps us review our choices and – if taken positively – can increase our desire to do better, and be better.
Failure brings change
Not getting the desired results of something we have prepared for is painful. Disappointments can sometimes make us question our future, or even our self-worth. In those dark times, we must learn to stop, reflect, even cry, and painfully but wholeheartedly accept that failure can bring change. It helps us to be humble, to review our habits, and to ask for more guidance from the Lord. It reminds me of Elder Hugh B. Brown’s experience, and how his failure to get the promotion that he wanted helped him understand better the will of the Lord. When we face heartbreaking failures, let us remember that failure – despite the pain that comes with it – helps us become better.
Failure teaches us lasting lessons
The names we know from history lessons are the names of numerous people who never abandoned their passion. We should draw strength from their examples and understand that their successes came after their failures – not before. People who eventually succeed after failures have one thing in common – they’ve learned from their mistakes, they did not dwell in bitterness, and they persevered.
The Book of Mormon is a compilation of imperfect human beings who struggled against their imperfections and came out victorious because they learned and persevered. It also presents to us the disheartening consequences of thinking that failure is final. The persistence of Nephi and his brothers to get the brass plates from Laban despite two failed attempts allows us to see the hand of the Lord guiding those who continue the fight. What could have happened if Alma and Amulek stopped teaching because they were constantly rejected? Learning from other people’s failures can help us realize that indeed, for the faithful, failure is never final.
Failure is a part of our journey to become like Christ
Our journey to become like Christ can be compared to the process of creating, not a flawless, but the most efficient and effective sword. A sword goes through numerous sessions of casting, hammering, melting, furnishing and refining. Despite this long and seemingly painful process, there will still be brittle, unbalanced, rough, or dull parts. The sword won’t immediately be perfect but that does not mean that it is set aside – in the hands of a master craftsman, it will continue to go through the same processes until it reaches a completely perfect state. Like the sword, we go through a refining process too – a process which includes failure. Failing numerous times in our lives doesn’t mean we will ever be cast aside – it means we must submit ourselves to the process again until we emerge near perfect, wise, courageous and an inspiration for others who will follow in our footsteps, despite their imperfections. Excellence is a lifetime goal. Successes are steps towards that goal, and failures are the reason we take those steps forward.
Failure is inevitable – each life will feature a series of disappointing events. When we go through disheartening moments, remember the loving promise given by the Lord in Jeremiah 29:11-13:
“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you an expected end,”
The Lord provides opportunities for success, even though sometimes, they’re wrapped in failure. Continue to learn from failing and never give in to the discouraging thoughts of the adversary. We can all make it with the Lord’s help, if we continue to move forward in faith.