by Rick Warren
A man who refuses to admit his mistakes can never be successful. But if he confesses and forsakes them, he gets another chance. Proverbs 28:13 (LB)
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Here are four steps to take when starting over after a failure:
1. Accept responsibility for your own failure. If you’ve made a mistake, admit it. Welcome to the human race! Don’t blame others. To blame others is to “be lame.” Losers love to blame bad luck, the economy, the boss, their spouse, or even God for failure.
But winners never accuse others and never excuse themselves when they fail. In 1974, after an 88-game winning streak, the UCLA basketball team lost to Notre Dame in a game where they’d led by 11 points. The next day’s headline read: “Coach Wooden says, ‘Blame me!’” Wooden was a winner.
“A man who refuses to admit his mistakes can never be successful. But if he confesses and forsakes them, he gets another chance”
(Proverbs 28:13 LB).
2. Recognize the benefits of failure. Failure teaches you what doesn’t work. Thomas Edison, the great inventor, said, “Don’t call it a failure. Call it an education!”
Failure forces you to be more creative as you look for new ways to accomplish something. It prevents arrogance and egotism. If everything you did was a stunning success, no one could live with you!
Failure also causes you to reevaluate what’s important in life. It’s one way God gets you to reflect on the direction of your life. “Sometimes it takes a painful experience to make us change our ways” (Proverbs 20:30 GNT).
3. Ask God for wisdom to understand what caused your failure. Why did you fail? Is there any reason you might have set yourself up to fail? There are many unconscious reasons we sometimes sabotage our own efforts:
• Fear of success – Success may mean handling more responsibility than you want to carry.
• Guilt – If you feel you don’t deserve to succeed, you may set yourself up to fail.
• Resentment – Some people fail as a way of getting even with those who are pressuring them to succeed.
• Ask God what caused it – “If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all …” (James 1:5 NIV).
4. Forget the past and focus on the future. Your past is past! It’s water under the bridge. You can’t change it so you may as well stop worrying about it. “Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on …” (Philippians 3:13-14 NIV).