Tuesday, August 12, 2008

In Other Words--Failure is an Individual Choice


“Problems can slow us down temporarily
but they don’t have the ability to stop us.
Only we have that power.”

~Wayne Cordeiro~

It was the most dreaded assignment I could receive in university---the group presentation worth the majority of the final grade. I hated them. Really, most everyone I knew hated them. Then one brave soul asked the question on everyone's mind, "Are we going to fail if someone in our group doesn't do their share of the work?" We all waited for the verdict. The professor answered, "Failure is an individual choice." He went on to explain that he, as a teacher, knew the ones who were hoping to ride on someone else's coattails, and would judge accordingly. He admitted that "a dead weight makes it more difficult" to succeed, but in that situation a student had to choices: either choose to fail due to the lack of cooperation or choose to work harder, do more and still succeed. Then he added the kicker, after again reminding us that he knew the ones most likely to not pull their weight, he said their co-presenters would be judged by whether or not they used that as "an excuse for mediocrity or an opportunity to show off."

I was blessed with a group that worked hard and worked well together. That much I remember. I don't remember the presentation at all. But I remember the real lesson, "failure is an individual choice." We all like excuses. We all would prefer to blame our mediocrity on circumstances. But when faced with the road blocks, the temptations or the troubles of pursuing a dream we choose whether to give up and use the excuse or we choose to persevere and gain success. I'd like to think I more often choose to continue to pursue the dream.

Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.
James 1:12

Today's hostess is Karen at In Love W.I.T.H. Jesus. Come and be blessed.


Karen said...

"Failure is an individual choice" what a great quote. I'll have to write on that one on my kids blog. We have a choice believe it or not. Thanks for sharing today.

Bonnie W said...

Good illustration MiPa. I think God is a lot like your professor - He allows us to be in similar situations to see whether we will allow the lack of faith of those around us to determine how we will respond to Him. At least I find that true in the ministry and other positions of leadership.

We have always pastored small churches that were hurting. It is so easy to allow their hurt and discouragement to affect me to the point where I believe God can't do anything to help them.

But over the years I have learned that even though they become discouraged and don't want to move forward, God will bless the works of my hands as I am faithful and encouraged in Him. It is harder to move forward with so much dead weight behind me, but well worth the effort. He has never ceased to bless me, though sadly some people in the churches still struggle. Oh that they could wake up and see the wonder of God!

Patricia@Typing One-Handed said...


"We all like excuses. We all would prefer to blame our mediocrity on circumstances."

How many times is that me!?! I am going to remember "Failure is an individual choice."

Great job!! Great perspective!

Denise said...

Awesome post sweetie.

Tami Boesiger said...

Failure is an individual choice.

Now there's a kick in the pants! Good words, friend.

Laurie Ann said...

Great post! God bless you for encouraging us not to make failure our choice.

Maisie said...

That's great. If something is really worth it - then why would we ever consider giving up? We have to keep our eyes on the prize and remember how important it is.

Betsy Markman said...

Wow, what a wise teacher you had, and what a wise teacher you are! "Failure is an individual choice." I'm going to chew on that one for a while!