Winston Churchill said it best: “Success is not final, failure is not fatal. It is the courage to continue that counts”.
So often we think that where we are right now is where we are going to remain. It’s as if each new stage of life we flow through somehow is the arrival point. We sometimes forget where we were and just how far we have come, or in some cases, reverted back to. Regardless of which side of the fence you are on, this is not your final destination. Unless this moment, this breath, becomes your very last one, tomorrow will be the first day of the rest of your life.
I have heard managers and leaders in my organization say “failure is just not an option”. Well, unfortunately it really is. Failure means we tried. We tried and the outcome fell short of the expectation. Sometimes we fail because we don’t try, or prepare, or study or stay disciplined in a particular area. Once in a while we fail at an effort because of circumstances beyond our control. Failure is always an option.
What we cannot seem to grasp on some level is that failure, in of itself, is not fatal. It’s merely a fumble, and although it may come along with a penalty, you generally aren’t kicked off the team when you drop the ball. You may not make MVP, you may need to rethink your passing game, but surely you will get back on the field again for another go at it.
So it is with success. Many successful people feel as if they have arrived. They worked hard, achieved milestones, created legacies and became great philanthropists. It is as if their paper would have been graded with an A++, but it still isn’t final. Life can, and has, thrown many a sure footed man off course in the blink of an eye. Sweeping fires across hundreds of thousands of acres of some of the countries most prestigious areas have taken lives, homes, and affluence right out of play. This is just one frightening example.
What endures within both of the above scenarios is pressing on, the courage to continue. It helps to realize that one has not arrived, nor let down anchor in either place, but that life is fluid, changing daily. Once we really understand this, it can springboard us into action, enabling us to keep moving forward regardless of the framework we see ourselves in. Whether our circumstances are what we desire or in need of dire improvement, the choice is ours to make: stay still or keep moving. It’s been said that even if you are on the right track, you will still get run over by the train, and it’s true.
Developing the skill to encourage yourself, and remind yourself, that your failures and fumbles are not fatal turns them into a learning experience for the next time around.