Most of us have experienced failure in our lives. My earliest encounter with failing entered into my life at the age of 13. It was then that I played fast-pitch baseball for the first time. I was horrible. I batted a miserable .011. I got one hit the entire season when the pitcher “accidentally” hit my bat with one of his pitches. I could have made excuses such as, “the other guys had played for years; this was my first season. Rather that excuse my poor performance, I accepted the responsibility for improving myself. I practiced for ten months. When the second season rolled around, my batting average sky-rocketed to .558.
Yes, at times, each of us has failed in some endeavor. Perhaps we failed to do what we should have done. At other times we were guilty of not doing something which we should have accpmlished. Once we were questioned about our failings, our focus should of been on accepting personal responsibility and making an honest admission of our faults. Instead, many have been guilty of making excuses. John Burroughs has an interesting thought to consider on failure: he said, “A man can fail many times, but he isn’t a failure until he begins to blame somebody else.”
What do you suppose is the significant difference between one who consistently achieves the expected results and the person who habitually fails in accomplishing his objectives? And how can you tell if one remains a success though they have suffered a devastating defeat, or have become a failure? How can you tell if you have now become a failure? This is so easy to discern, for all one must do is to listen for the excuses to roll in. Failures make it their habit to manufacture excuses when adversity comes; it’s why they have a history of failures. They continue doing what failures do, make excuses. Successful people consistently own their shortcomings and seek to learn from them. The person who really wants to succeed will search for a way; the other person will invariable seek an excuse to take the focus off their failings. Don Wilder said, “Excuses are the nails used to build a house of failure.” The successful, when encountered with an obstacle or set-back will accept responsibility, set goals, establish objectives, and create actionable steps which will enable them to climb the ladder of success. The Failure however, makes excuses in a feeble attempt to justify his role in the problem. Florence Nightingale was quoted as saying, “I attribute my success to this: I never gave or took an excuse.” And neither should the modern-day leader.
Being a success is not quite as easy as it may seem. It pre-supposes that you have relinquished your “right” to take the easy way out, by refusing to submit excuses. It means that when you have a temporary failure, you will at once ask yourself, “what could I have done differently” rather than “why am I constantly placed in a position to fail”?
1. Dedicate yourself to the development of problem solving skills. If something is important to you, you will find a way to fix the issue. If not, then you’ll find an excuse in hopes it will satisfy your insecurities.
2. There must be a commitment to change one’s attitude towards disappointments and set-backs. To eliminate the excuse-making from one’s life, a concrete decision must be made to “Stop making excuses and begin to make some positive and constructive changes to your situation.
George Washington Carver had little patience with excuse-makers. He was heard to say the following about excuses: “99% of the failures come from people who have the habit of making excuses.” This is certainly true.
3. Adopt the philosophy that set-backs are the key that will open the door of success for you. You must understand that you can fail without being a failure. Failure need not be final until you begin making excuses, or unless you make it the final chapter in your book of life.
4. Stop making excuses and begin at once to search for solutions. You must understand that life is full of options if one only knows where to look for them. There is always a way… The portrait of your dreams may not be delivered in the frame you had custom-designed, but if you, the artist, will begin to touch up the painting which you call failure, there is every reason to believe that through this disappointment, your picture might one day become as favored a painting as a Michelangelo. Did you know that most great ideas were born out of adversity? There was a problem that frustrated the crowd, but someone decided to find a solution to the problem. Most threw away the key which would have unlock the window of opportunity.
However, there was one small, seemingly insignificant face in the crowd that said, “I will let failure become my Teacher.” I will learn. I will experiment. I will climb this mighty mountain. I will scale her heights. There doesn’t appear to be a solution now, but I will persist until I find a way. There are always options! There is always a better way. I must probe until she introduces herself to me in my search for her. Greatness will come once my failing meets with creativity and persistence. I will not quit! I will not blame anyone for my situation!