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Is Failure a Choice?

you have not failed hinckley


This quote by Gordon B. Hinckley is one of my favorites. It is so simple, yet so powerful. When we think of failure, is it a final answer? I know I’ve failed many things in my life, but were they final? Were they absolute? I think many of us, at certain times in our lives, fail, and accept that as the final result. Failing at something can be devastating. It can be embarrassing. It can leave our self-esteem shaky. But more importantly, I think that we should use our failures as stepping stones; as life’s experiences. These failures should be lessons on how we can succeed.

abes failures become success

One of the greatest examples of what I am talking about is Lincoln. This picture sums up what I think his thoughts of failure were. As you can see from above, there are far more losses than wins, yet look at the wins. Look at the magnitude of the wins!!!! If anyone ever made failures look like they had a purpose, it had to be Lincoln. After failing over and over again, he becomes the President of the United States, and in my opinion the best one we ever had. When I study this, I come to the conclusion that he must have taken something from each of those  losses. He must have learned something. He took a loss and bettered himself. By bettering himself, he opened up new doors. He did not give up. He did not sit on the sideline. He learned from his failures, and he succeeded. He not only succeeded and made his own life better, he made the lives of many others better as well.

michael jordan succeed inspiration

One of my favorite quotes of Michael Jordan is referenced above. I love it so much because when you think of Michael Jordan, you think of success. I mean this guy won everything. But looking at his quote, you realize he is human. He has lost. He has missed shots. He has failed. Isn’t that crazy to think about? Obviously his failures meant something to him. I can’t be certain he took them personally, but I can be certain he used them to better himself and his teammates. I love the last part of this quote, “I’ve failed over and over and over again, and that is why I Succeed. Powerful words that really make you stop and think. They paint a picture for you of what led to his success. Yes, he failed, but he chose to overcome failure.


There have been many times in my life that I have failed. There have been many times in my life that others have failed me. Looking back at those failures now, I truly see a reason for each one of them in my life. Although failures can be hard even painful at times, I find it beneficial to look at the lessons they are teaching us along our journey. Can we learn something from them? Can our failures better our lives? Can they better the lives of others? Failures are inevitable. We can choose to let them be final, or we can choose to let them build something great. Let us all turn our failures into successes.


-Tyson Gardner