Dear Graduate: Don’t be Afraid of Failure

Dear Graduate,

This weekend or next, you will don the robe and ridiculous cap and stride past the other graduates to receive your diploma, the culmination of four years of achievement. On that day, you will feel successful…for you are. But even as you reach for your rolled scroll remember this: every day didn’t feel like a win. You faced frustrations and confusion and even some defeat. Those moments didn’t stop you; you got up again and pushed on toward the finish line, stronger and more determined.

Know this, dear graduate: success is not a culmination of achievements but of perseverance. We advance through adversity even more so than through accomplishments.  For difficulty and misfortune realign our desires and identity. When we fall off the stability we thought we had (grades, rewards, jobs, relationships, talents, etc.), we are forced to ask ourselves, “What really matters? Who am I when I mess up? Where do I go from here?” For our worth isn’t determined by how successful people see us. Nor are we failures because we fail. Our identity must anchor to our Creator or we have no security at all.

“You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated. In fact, it may be necessary to encounter the defeats, so you can know who you are, what you can rise from, how you can still come out of it.”
Maya Angelou

Constantly seeing dreams realized can be more detrimental to your character than falling down and allowing God to redirect your course. Don’t be afraid to try a job and then alter your career down the road. Every stage of life propels us toward our purpose; don’t feel like you have to make your fortune by 35. Remember your purpose and why you are here, and live out of that motivation regardless of your work or dreams. It’s never too late:

  • Leonardo Da Vinci was 51 years old when he painted the Mona Lisa.
  • Ray Kroc Was 53 when he bought the McDonald’s Franchise and took it to unprecedented levels.
  • Dr. Seuss was 54 when he wrote The Cat in the Hat.
  • Colonel Harland Sanders was 61 when he started the KFC Franchise.
  • J.R.R Tolkien was 62 when the Lord of the Ring books came out.

Who you are is more important than what you do. What you give is more important than what you get.

“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.”
Winston S. Churchill

So, if you trip, brush yourself off and keep on marching. The end is worth it all, but so is the journey.



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