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Posted on 15 Sep 2008

Failure and Defeat

By Dr. Cris Enriquez

The most humbling, ego-deflating and destructive experience one could ever have is to fail, to be defeated on anything, be it in sports, in love, on a project, in school or in life in general.

At that lowest ebb of life, the feeling is that of hopelessness and despair. Discouragement creeps up on you giving you that lugubrious feeling of doom and gloom.

After the initial impact of shock and devastation, two completely opposite feelings appear on the horizon of life, each with an agenda that will define your future.

First, is that ever-inviting feeling of resignation and rationalization. We start to believe the lie that "it is really not that bad," after all 95% of the people fail.

The second is an absolute opposite feeling of vengeance and like a wounded tiger, want to go for a kill and do it better the next time. Instead of discouragement, you become highly motivated. You become determined and persistent and with the fervor of a Napoleon, you become focused and say, "I see only the objective, the obstacles will have to give way." A strong desire to bounce back is permeating your entire consciousness and you cannot be denied. As mentioned in Matthew 17:20, "if you have a faith as a mustard seed…..nothing is impossible for you."

Sadly, only 3-5% of the people take this rewarding but appears to be a tortuous and winding road. These are the people who use their "failures" as a learning experience, a stepping stone, or as a necessary ingredient to become successful. They understand that "defeats" are a part of success.  Confucius, 551-479 BC, once said, "Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall." An old adage says, "One doesn't drown by falling into the water; one drowns by staying in the water."

There is a ton of difference between the 95% who fail and the 5% who succeed. The difference is the former stops and accepts their failure while the latter does not; they persist and continue until they win. Ralph Waldo Emerson said, "Men succeed when they realize that their failures are the preparation for their victories." While it is true that only 5% of the people succeed, it is not true that only 95% fail. The truth is all of us fail, 100% of us, at one time or another. Everyone experiences failure. Everyone! Anyone who claims he has never failed is either a liar or a good-for-nothing lazy bum. But that's redundant and makes him a double failure.
We should not be afraid of failure. You don't make it a goal to fail but when it comes, learn from it, stay away from what made you fail and don't do it again, then use what you have just learned to strengthen you and do your next project with wisdom and a renewed enthusiasm. Orison Sweet Marden once said," Many a man has succeeded only because he has failed after repeated effort. If he had never met defeat, he would never have known any great victory."

I have read of a billionaire who said that he has started 286 companies and all of them were a failure except for 2 or 3 that became successful and made him a billionaire. How many companies have you started? Forget that, how many projects have you done? Or, to make it a little pointed, how many times have you taken a risk? If you haven't then you are just like a fool who never stubs his toes because he never goes anywhere. Even Sir Richard Bronson who has hundreds of different companies had only the Virgin Airlines and maybe 3 or 4 others that made a name for him. The others are so-so, and he is also a billionaire. Thomas J. Watson, the former legendary CEO of IBM said, "the way to succeed is to double your failure rate." 

The common thinking is most people don't want to take a risk for fear of failure. This is absurd. If you want to go out to the deep sea you must get out of the pier. The only way to succeed is to risk. When you fail, change your strategy then do it again until you win. Success can be built upon our mistakes or failures as long as you keep them only temporary. Actually, if you decide to, they can make you strong. Governor Arnold Swarszenegger says, "Strength does not come from winning. Your struggles develop your strengths. When you go through hardships and decide not to surrender, that is strength."

Let me name you a few people who "failed"and see what you think.

1. Bill Gates - He was fired by his initial comp any before it became known as Microsoft.

2. Michael Jordan was cut from his high school basketball team when he was a sophomore because he was not good enough.

3. Walt Disney - was told he had no talent for art, went bankrupt 6 times and was declined by 459 banks before he was able to build Disneyland.

4. Irving Stone's biography of Vincent Van Gogh, Lust for Life, was rejected by 17 publishers but the book has now sold 26 million copies.

5. Ted Turner started CNN after he went bankrupt in his father's sign business.

6. Dr. Seuss's first book was rejected by 27 publishers, told that no one would be interested in his books and now has sold over 200 million copies.

7. Michael Blake became an "overnight" success after he won an Oscar for the movie "Dances with Wolves" after having had 20 screenplays rejected during his first 25 years in business.

8. Winston Churchill was taken a prisoner of war but escaped. He failed as a politician and resigned. Everyone agreed he was finished. Then he came back to become the Prime Minister of a country that was losing a world war. Yet, he was able to rally his people to persevere and to win.

9. Ross Perot, a billionaire former presidential candidate, made 76 cold calls (the usual is 1-4 only then you quit) and all said "no" but number 77th was a winner that started his EDS company that was sold for $8 billion.

10. Thomas Edison "failed" about 2000 times before he invented the light bulb. He said he did not fail, he found 2000 ways on how not to do it.

11. Col. Sanders was refused by 1002 restaurants to try his fried chicken recipe. The 1003rd tried it and his face now adorns thousands of KFC restaurants making him the most recognizable face on the face of the earth.

12. Roberto Goizueta, chairman of Coca-Cola, made a "blunder" by changing the formula to the "New Coke" and earnings increased and made the Coca-Cola the most recognizable business name in the world. The chairman died a billionaire.

13. George Washington lost all his battles during the war with the British except for two which won the war and independence.

The greatest "loser" of all time was a tall, bearded man who:

failed in his business in '31
defeated for State legislature in '32
failed in business again in '33
his sweetheart died in '35
had a nervous breakdown in '36
defeated for Speaker in '38
defeated for elector in '40
defeated for Congress in '43
defeated for Congress again in '48
defeated for Senate in '55
defeated for Vice President in '56
defeated for Senate again in '58
In 1860 he was elected the 16th President of the United States.

His name is Abraham Lincoln, considered the greatest president America has ever produced.

The story of Abraham Lincoln almost parallels that of Job, a godly man who suffered many reversals including the loss of his wealth and the lives of his family but his faithfulness to his Creator never wavered and God blessed him. Job 42:10 says, "The Lord restored Job's losses when he prayed for his friends. Indeed the Lord gave Job twice as much as he had before."

Take a risk, fail if you have to but do not quit.

Welcome! Recognized in the past as the only medical doctor in the world trained and practicing 4 different medical specialties. He trained in different university and training institutions in the United States specializing in Internal Medicine, Cardiology, Pulmonary Medicine and Radiology. Since then, he has added Public Health, Anti-Aging, Longevity and Preventive Medicine in his vast practice. Additionally, he prays with, and for, all his his patients as he recognizes that he is just an instrument of the Lord Jesus, the real Healer, the Great Physician for "without Him we can do nothing." E-mail: drcris @

Inspirational and Motivation Features:
 n Overcoming Failure and Defeat
 n Words that Hurt vs Words that Heal
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