#082: On the Road to Success We Must First Conquer Failure

Some folks I know think of success and failure as being two different roads one can travel in life: success is one road, and failure the other. But I disagree. I think in life’s great journey, success and failure are on the same road.

Pothole, Failure, Success

C.S. Lewis said, “Failures are posts on the road to achievement.” Lewis has failures and success on the same road, but in my experience, failures aren’t posts on the side of the road. We can’t just wave at them as we pass them by. Failures are more like potholes right in the middle of the road. If our destination is success, along the way we must endure the potholes of failure.

Of course, we will do our best to avoid the failure potholes, but occasionally we will hit one dead on—it can’t be avoided. When we do hit the inevitable pothole, how do we stay on the road to success rather than driving into the ditch?

1) Recognize failure is a part of life! Everyone, and by that I mean everyone, will experience failure in their lives. J. K. Rowling said, “It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all, in which case you have failed by default.”

“The LORD upholds all those who fall and lifts up all who are bowed down” (Psalm 145:14).

2) Don’t accept failure. Failure is not final unless you let it be! Consider failure as an opportunity to learn and move on from there. Referring to his experiments that led to the invention of the incandescent light bulb, Thomas Edison said, “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” From every experiment that failed, Edison was one step closer in his journey to success!

“For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Corinthians 12:10).

3) Celebrate the journey. Success rarely comes easy. If we accept that failure is a part of life, and we are determined to persevere, then it behooves us to celebrate our progress towards our goal. Even if that includes failure, because we can learn something from failure that will propel us toward our final destination. Winston Churchill said, “Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm.”

“The steps of a man are established by the LORD, when he delights in his way; though he fall, he shall not be cast headlong, for the LORD upholds his hand” (Psalm 37:23-24).

4) Don’t extrapolate a failure to the rest of your life! Failing in one area should not be construed to mean that you are a failure in life in general. Recognize the failure for what it is, and constrain your conclusions about the failure to that one specific situation. Don’t allow it to spill-over into the rest of your life!  Johnny Cash said, “You build on failure. You use it as a stepping stone. Close the door on the past. You don’t try to forget the mistakes, but you don’t dwell on it. You don’t let it have any of your energy, or any of your time, or any of your space.”

“Commit to the LORD whatever you do, and your plans will succeed” (Proverbs 16:3).


Being a Christian does not automatically mean that everything you put your hand to will yield a life of success and contentment. As Matthew points out, the sun rises on the good and the evil, and the rain falls on the righteous and the unrighteous.

“He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous” (Matthew 5:45).

The four key to conquering failure are:

1) Recognize failure is a part of life!

2) Don’t accept failure.

3) Celebrate the journey.

4) Don’t extrapolate a failure to the rest of your life!

Once you’ve conquered the fear of failure, the most important key to success is to never give up.

“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up” (Galatians 6:9).

for though a righteous man falls seven times, he rises again, but the wicked are brought down by calamity” (Proverbs 24:16).

Join the Conversation

As always questions and comments are welcome. How has failure affected you in the past? Which of these four keys to conquering failure do you struggle with the most?

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Category: Personal Development | Character

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • Mark says:

    Failure makes encouragement even more important. Encouragers have a real gift that can sustain us when we experience failure. Failures are merely strong headwinds in a storm. Sometimes the storms go on for a long time, and do a lot of damage, but they do end!

    • Ron says:

      Mark – So true! In the face of failure, the person who comes alongside offering encouragement can help someone survive and thrive in the midst of a storm.

  • ida says:

    The apsotles built on the commission of Jesus “to preached the gospel in all the world “against all odds and today the Holy Bible is the most sold book of all time and the most interesting too ! If God be for you who can be against you ?