Sometimes it Only Looks Like Failure
None of us is perfect. This is a truth that most of us
learn early in life. Yet though we are not perfect, we are
We have all witnessed ourselves and others failing in
different areas of our lives. Some allow their failure to
be transformed into despair and defeat. Others are able
to get up, move on, and struggle again.
Some failures just look like failures. Other failures
really are failures and need to be recognized
Vincent van Gogh, the Dutch painter, is now hailed
as one of the greatest artists of all time. But he did not
enjoy the same acclaim and success during his lifetime.
He painted 1,700 paintings; during his lifetime he sold
only one of them, for a mere eighty-five dollars. Almost
one hundred years to the day after his death, one of his
paintings was sold at action for forty million dollars.
Some failures just look like failures.
Imagine if after painting five pictures and not being
able to sell them, van Gogh had quit. Today we
would not have Sunflowers and so many of his other
works to enjoy.
There are hundreds of examples of men and women
who have persisted despite failure or apparent failure.
Another of these is Babe Ruth, one of the greatest baseball
players of all time. Babe Ruth knew one thing:
he could hit a baseball out of the park. He did what he
knew, and he did it often—a total of 714 times. But
Babe Ruth had his share of failures too. He had to walk
back to the dugout 1,330 times after striking out in front
of thousands of people. Imagine if after Babe Ruth had
struck out one hundred times he had said to himself,
“Well, one hundred times is enough times to make any
mistake. I quit.” And yet so often we quit long before
we have even reached one hundred.
How do you respond to failure? When you fail, particularly
in your struggle to become a better person, how do
From A Call to Joy
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