What Is Failure?

What Is Failure?
Dr. Jed N. Snyder

“Failure is not fatal, but failure to change might be.”  - John Wooden

For those who may not know, John Wooden was one of the most successful basketball coaches in university history.  He knew about change.  He coached hundreds of ball players to change so they could function better both personally and for the team.

We all know that we all fail.  A failed examination shows that one does not have mastery of the subject matter.  A failed marriage shows that one does not have mastery of this part of life.  When a car fails to start, most of us do not abandon it and go buy another. We change the part that failed.  When a basketball player fails to hit a free throw, he does not quit the game.  He may throw several hundred practice free throws until he fails infrequently.  Failure is actually part of success if it encourages us to change and become more like what we know to be ideal.

The great apostle Peter failed miserably but repented and was re-commissioned to serve effectively and powerfully for the rest of his life.  I and II Peter in the New Testament are evidences of a failed man who changed and overcame his failures.

On the other hand, the failure of Judas Iscariot of the New Testament, who betrayed Jesus, led to his suicide.  While not all refusal to learn and change after failure, will be this dramatic, all failure that does not produce positive change will produce a downward spiral that will be destructive and lead to both spiritual, and ultimately physical death.

Failure is thus the refusal to change after making a bad decision, or doing something that is not effective.

Happy learning from failure.  Happy changing.