Success Can Still Come From Defeat

“What is defeat? Nothing but education, nothing but the first step toward something better.” ~ Wendell Phillips … 

It sure would be nice if everything I attempted in life were met with success. I could win every venture or game I participated in; I could be guaranteed financial stability and successful businesses. Life would be perfect, right? It might seem so on the surface, however, the complete answer is no.

Time and time again throughout my life, I find myself faced with defeat. In hockey, I am out-hustled to the puck. At work, I find mistakes in things that I had previously done. Even at home, in spite of my best efforts, I see my swimming pool going murky, I find weeds cropping up in my yard and garden, and have flowers that never grow to their full potential. I accept the fact that I am going to fail at some of the things that I attempt in life. Many of those times, it will be because I do not put forth enough effort or follow through. Other times, it will be because I procrastinated or gave up even before starting, and in those situations, I will have contributed to the failure and defeat I face. A few of those times, though, I will face defeat because of circumstances that are out of my control. For example, death, loss, adversity, and hardships are often things that we have not planned for and generally cannot prepare for either. Nevertheless, each time we are faced with failure and defeat we have a choice: we can choose to fight and give it our best–win or lose–and then take away whatever we can to learn from, or we can allow defeat to knock us down and then become indignant and seethe about it.

As Wendell tells us here, defeat is not the end… it can be a “first step towards something better.” It is true that it may be difficult to cope with–after all, we put a lot of our time and effort into succeeding. But every defeat has its buried treasure chests… and if we look for them, we may just find the answers that we seek.

So why stop at defeat? If we have dared to risk, have given it our all, and have faced defeat… why not now give it some more effort? We have much to learn from each defeat we face, for each one offers us a new and powerful perspective in which to look at our lives, a perspective that offers us raw clarity and purpose. We will not always succeed. But when we fail, if we choose to look for the buried treasure chests, we will improve our chances of avoiding defeat later; we will in a sense, little by little, succeed in our defeats.

Today’s Challenge: Take a moment to recall a recent defeat today and come up with one thing you have learned from it.

Questions to consider:

Why do we tend to have such a negative view of defeat?

What important lessons have you learned from defeat in your life? Would you have learned them if you had not faced defeat?

How can we be sure that we recognize and learn from the defeats in our lives?

For further thought:

In every adversity there lies the seed of an equivalent advantage. In every defeat is a lesson showing you how to win the victory next time.

Robert Collier, Riches Within Your Reach


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Filed under Commentary, Food For Thought, Living, Opinion

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