As we usher in the new year, many of us will, once again, embark upon the task(s) of achieving our New Year’s goals. We will keep some resolutions and let others fall by the wayside.
As I created a plan for achieving my own New Year’s goals, the word perseverance flowed through my thoughts with a persistence I could not ignore. I wrote this post as I pondered the relational connectedness between failure, perseverance, and success. Here are my thoughts (ramblings).
On the path of life, it’s inevitable: Sometimes we succeed, and sometimes we fail. Failure can be painful, yet a number of highly successful adults have seemingly mastered the art of failure. I know; ‘mastering failure’ is a bit of an oxymoron. But, either failure becomes our master, or we master failure. I choose the latter.
Ideas on failure split people into opposing camps. Camp One primarily subscribes to the idea that failure is ghastly, in all its varied forms. Camp Two finds value in the lessons learned from failure. I reside in Camp Two. I believe that failure is oddly spectacular because failure has the potential to elevate us. For example, our failures often reveal important lessons that facilitate the development of higher level insights. Perseverance after failure allows us to utilize these higher level insights in ways that can benefit ourselves and others.
I believe that failure is oddly spectacular because failure has the potential to elevate us.
While having a recent conversation about the importance of perseverance, lines from the poem Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night, by Dylan Thomas, came to mind. You might have studied this poem in an academic setting. Or, perhaps your first exposure to this poem occurred while watching the movies Back to School or Interstellar. Or, maybe you have never even heard of this poem. (Click here if you would like to read the poem for the first time, or as a refresher.)
In this poem, Thomas reminds us that no one escapes death: the “wise,” the “good,” the “wild,” or the “grave.” This poem can be analyzed on a deeper literary and philosophical level, but my focus, for this post, is centered on the idea that we should not wait until we are dying to, “…rage, rage against the dying of the light…” (Thomas). Rather, we should “…rage, rage against the dying of the light…” every day we are living.
“…rage, rage against the dying of the light…” (Thomas)
I don’t believe death is an end. I believe death is a milestone in the continuation of our soul’s journey. Nevertheless, on the march towards our last days on earth, wouldn’t we all like to believe we will choose to: “…rage, rage against the dying of the light…” (Thomas).
I think of these words on days when my best efforts don’t yield desired results. Sometimes this poem screams at me, from inside of my head! The words tell me to persevere. The words tell me to keep going; even if I have failed. The words tell me to keep going; even if attempting the good fight sometimes means that my best efforts seem fruitless or inconsequential.
The words tell me to keep going; even if attempting the good fight sometimes means that my best efforts seem fruitless or inconsequential.
It has taken me a while to realize that the actions and efforts that seem fruitless to me, in a secular sense, may be just what God expected of me – nothing more, nothing less.
I’m not saying we should live life with abandon. Being accountable helps us to identify weaknesses, correct flaws, and improve life choices. But, despite our best efforts, we are not perfect. We all fail at some point in life, to a lesser or greater degree. When we fail, it’s important to remember the significance of perseverance. The poetic words, within Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night, often inspire me to persevere. The power of these words will help me as I embark upon the task(s) of achieving my New Year’s goals.
Unfortunately, some failures are tied to our own flawed actions. We must accept responsibility, apologize (if applicable), and learn from the failures caused by our own flawed actions. That’s how we grow.
Other failures, however, occur when our intentions are pure and our actions are righteous. When failure seems unfair or undeserved, it helps me to remember that God opens and closes doors, throughout our lives: He opens and closes doors for our good, not our harm. It also helps me to remember that the plans we develop for our own lives may not align with God’s will for our lives. God has an eternal plan, and His plan is superior to our own plans.
*“My life is not significant because of my personal achievements or experiences, but because of my place in God’s eternal plan.”
I love this quote because it reminds me that I am a part of something far greater than the realm of existence, and earthly goals, I can physically see. This quote also reminds me to acknowledge the idea that my place in God’s eternal plan is much greater than any goal I might hope to accomplish on Earth. So, while I believe that creating and working towards honorable life goals is important, I believe that our place in God’s eternal plan is most important.
In closing, try not to lose heart, my friends. Have faith, and persevere. Perseverance after failure allows us to rebuild our confidence: It allows us to continue on the path of our soul’s journey.
Closing Comments and Well Wishes
My overall mission for this blog is to create a conduit for discovery. Discovery begins when we share our thoughts about life. Through discovery, we learn how to better protect ourselves and the world around us.
Many of my posts, under the ‘Life’ category, will be written with an exploratory spirit and a bend towards initiating conversations about life choices. I believe that perseverance after failure is a healthy life choice.
Important Note: Everyone experiences days (and/or life phases) when the desire to “…rage, rage against the dying of the light…” is seriously diminished – if not non-existent. During these times, I encourage you to focus on healing. Try to live in the moment, and contemplate lessons learned, if applicable. Seek God’s guidance. When you feel the time is right, move forward. Persevere. Everyone’s time table for persevering after failure is different. Develop a timeline and a path forward that works best for you and your particular situation.
Take care, my friends. Be well, in body and spirit.
*Quote (“My life is not significant because of my personal achievements…”) obtained from the following web source: http://s3.amazonaws.com/Warren-Notes/Sunday/GrowUp/170122_ContactSheet.pdf