Thursday, April 26, 2018

John C. Maxwell on Leadership #11 Let Failure Point You to Success

Oliver Goldsmith was born the son of a poor preacher in Ireland in the 1700s. Growing up, he wasn’t a great student. In fact, his schoolmaster labeled him a ‘stupid blockhead.’ He did manage to earn a college degree, but he finished at the bottom of his class. He was unsure of what he wanted to do. At first, he tried to become a preacher, but it didn’t suit him, and he was never ordained. Next, he tried law but failed at it. He then settled on medicine, but he was an indifferent doctor and was not passionate about his profession. He was able to hold several posts only temporarily. Goldsmith lived in poverty, was often ill, and once even had to pawn his clothes to buy food.

It looked like he would never find his way. But then he discovered an interest and aptitude for writing and translating. At first, he worked as a Fleet Street reviewer and writer. But then he began to write works that came out of his own interests. He secured his reputation as a novelist with The Vicar of Wakefield, a poet with “The Deserted Village,” and a playwright with She Stoops to Conquer.

My friend Tim Masters says that failure is the productive part of success. It provides the road you don’t have to travel again, the mountain you don’t have to climb again, and the valley you don’t have to cross again. At the time you’re making mistakes, they may not feel like “the kiss of Jesus,” which was Mother Teresa’s term for failures that drive us to God. But if we have the right attitude, they can lead us to what we ought to be doing.

[The Difference Maker: Making Your Attitude Your Greatest Asset (2006) by John C. Maxwell. Published by Thomas Nelson]

Embrace your failures as blessings in disguise.

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