Living with the threat of failure


“I don’t know of any man in his right senses who wants to fail in life. However, I have discovered that every man who eventually succeeded had to live with the threat of failure.” These are the words of a great American preacher who is on the list of the 100 most influential figures in America. While his position might not be enough reason to believe the saying hook, line and sinker, the truthfulness in it makes it worth considering.

untitled1Reading the topic of the article in a flash might generate certain responses in you because no one wants to associate with failure. However, I am not in any way saying you should put up with failure. What I am saying is that we have to develop the art of doing things afraid; living with the threat that what we intend to embark on or are presently working on might fail. No successful person started his or her venture with 100% certainty. They only saw clearly as they moved ahead. Personally, I have learnt from experience in life that if you are striving for worthwhile goals then you must learn how to forge ahead despite the haunting thought that you might fail. But the truth is that if such fear will travel with you, never allow it to drive. Whether you are starting a new job, business, courtship or even ministry, it makes no difference. There are certain attitudes and mindsets to adopt if you must succeed despite the constant threat of failure you are bombarded with.

The first is the fact that if things didn’t work the way we planned them does not mean we failed. Failure is a process or an event; it is not a person. So why call yourself a failure? We always plan based on our present body of knowledge, but we have a God who does not just know the past, the present and the future but knows how to connect them.

The second is that we should never allow the threat of failure to make us internalize failure because our lives reproduce what we internalize. The threat of failure is a normal occurrence in our quest for significance. A preacher once said “It’s okay to doubt in your mind as long as you don’t doubt in your heart”. Even God allows the threat of failure because that is one thing that keeps us going back to Him.

The third is that we should allow the threat of failure to prove to us that success is a possibility. After all, the proof that the original version of a product exists is that there is a fake version of the product. images71D47GIR

The fourth is never to judge the success or failure of a thing solely by external parameters or materials. Jesus said a man’s life does not consist of the abundance of things that he possesses. He meant that success in life is much more than material acquisition.

The threat of failure is what you have to live with everyday. However, in addition to the above attitudes, you must realize that the threats come in the form of thoughts and words and it is in the realm of thoughts expressed in words that you overcome them daily. You cannot think or wish the threats away but you can use your words to ameliorate the effect of the threats. What I am saying, in essence, is that you can only live successfully despite the threat of failure if you learn how to use your words wisely. Since the threat comes in the form of a voice, it takes a voice to drown it.

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