與失敗和平共處的哲學──A FAIL SAFE PHILOSOPHY FOR FAILURE

cbmc_20190729

塞思.戈登,一位顧問、企業家和商業部落客向他的讀者提出一個每個人都曾自問過的問題:「如果我失敗了怎麼辦?」戈登為這個不祥的可能性提供了實際的答案:「你會失敗。」緊接著他提出了更重要的問題:「我失敗了,然後呢?」

失敗是生命中必定會發生的事之一。因為不是每顆種子都能長成一株健康、結實纍纍的植物,也不是每一次決定都是正確的。無論是生意上的冒險、嘗試學習新技能、還是購買新產品,不是每一次努力都會成功。然而,失敗經常也是成功必經過程的一部分。

正如戈登觀察到的:「如果你好好地選擇,即便失敗了,但你同時也離成功又更近了。你會變得更聰明、更強大,而且幾乎所有害怕嘗試的人都勢必會尊重你。」失敗告訴我們甚麼路不會通往我們所期望的成功。

愛迪生在找到點亮白熾燈泡的正確方法之前,也做了數百次失敗的嘗試。如果我們細查非常成功的高管和企業家的生活與事業,我們會發現他們走向成功的道路上充滿了失敗和沮喪,有時甚至是破產。但是讓他們成功的一個秘訣就是他們從未停止嘗試。他們拒絕讓失敗定義他們。

我們在聖經中可以找到許多在成功路上失敗的例子。其中一個例子是舊約中的約瑟。他因為不斷提醒自己的兄弟自己才是父親的最愛,而惹惱了他們。他先被賣為奴,後被誣陷入監,但約瑟最後仍然高居全埃及第二高位。他甚至制定了度過一場毀滅性饑荒的計劃,不僅拯救了埃及人,也幫助到自己的家人和全以色列民。

在新約聖經中,彼得身為耶穌最親近的門徒之一,卻三次否認耶穌。然而,彼得後來成為早期教會的領袖之一。而使徒保羅則是從一個被誤導的基督徒迫害者變成第一世紀教會的核心人物,也是聖經中許多信件的作者。聖經教導我們說:「失敗不一定是終點,也可以成為一個起點。」以下是聖經中處理失敗的一些原則:

與人合作。當你不必獨自承擔重擔時,失敗會更容易承受。「兩個人總比一個人好,因為二人勞碌同得美好的果效。若是跌倒,這人可以扶起他的同伴;若是孤身跌倒,沒有別人扶起他來,這人就有禍了。」(傳道書4章9-12節)

學會依靠上帝的力量。失敗經常是在提醒我們相信、倚靠上帝的力量和智慧的重要性。「疲乏的,他賜能力;軟弱的,他加力量……但那等候耶和華的必從新得力。他們必如鷹展翅上騰;他們奔跑卻不困倦,行走卻不疲乏。」(以賽亞書40章29-31節)

面對挑戰時堅持不懈。一失敗就放棄可能會阻礙我們體驗成功的喜悅,我們只要再多堅持一下就好。「我們行善,不可喪志;若不灰心,到了時候就要收成。」(加拉太書6章9節)

© 2019. Robert J. Tamasy 是企業巔峰: 給今日職場從箴言而來永恆的智慧 一書的作者。也與導師之心的作者David A. Stoddard 合著Tufting Legacies。編輯多本著作包括Mike Landry. Bob的書: 透過苦難成長。Mike Landry. Bob的網站為www.bobtamasy-readywriterink.com, 他的雙週部落格為: www.bobtamasy.blogspot.com

反省與問題討論

  1. 你多少次因為擔憂「如果我失敗了怎麼辦?」而裹足不前?你通常如何回應這樣的擔憂?
  2. 你認為自己最大的失敗是什麼?它在過去和現在對你產生了什麼影響? 
  3. 在讀到或聽到有人歷經多次失敗終至成功的故事時,你受到了甚麼影響?它們會激勵你,給你往前進的動力,還是你認為這是他們的故事,不一定適用在你身上?請解釋你的答案。
  4. 在你看來,我們如何能在失敗之後繼續堅持下去?處理失敗時,信仰扮演什麼角色?

備註:如果你手上有聖經,希望閱讀更多和這個主題相關的訊息,請參考下面的經文:
箴言16章3、9節
16:3 你所做的,要交託耶和華,你所謀的,就必成立。
16:9 人心籌算自己的道路;惟耶和華指引他的腳步。
箴言19章21節
19:21 人心多有計謀;惟有耶和華的籌算才能立定。
箴言20章24節
20:24 人的腳步為耶和華所定;人豈能明白自己的路呢?
箴言27章1節
27:1 不要為明日自誇,因為一日要生何事,你尚且不能知道。
哥林多前書15章57-58節
15:57 感謝 神,使我們藉著我們的主耶穌基督得勝。
15:58 所以,我親愛的弟兄們,你們務要堅固,不可搖動,常常竭力多做主工;因為知道,你們的勞苦在主裏面不是徒然的。
希伯來書11章1節
11:1 信就是所望之事的實底,是未見之事的確據。
希伯來書11章 11-12節
11:11 因著信,連撒拉自己,雖然過了生育的歲數,還能懷孕,因她以為那應許她的是可信的。
11:12 所以從一個彷彿已死的人就生出子孫,如同天上的星那樣眾多,海邊的沙那樣無數。
希伯來書11章24-27節
11:24 摩西因著信,長大了就不肯稱為法老女兒之子。
11:25 他寧可和 神的百姓同受苦害,也不願暫時享受罪中之樂。
11:26 他看為基督受的凌辱比埃及的財物更寶貴,因他想望所要得的賞賜。
11:27 他因著信,就離開埃及,不怕王怒;因為他恆心忍耐,如同看見那不能看見的主。
 


A FAIL-SAFE PHILOSOPHY FOR FAILURE

By Robert J. Tamasy

Seth Godin, a consultant, entrepreneur and business blogger, posed a question to his readers that all of us have asked ourselves at one time or another: “But what if I fail?” Godin offered a realistic answer to that ominous possibility: “You will.” Then he asked an even more important question: “After I fail, what then?”

Failure is one of the great certainties of life. Not every seed sprouts into a healthy, fruitful plant. Not every decision is the correct one. And not every attempt at trying something different, whether it is a business venture, an attempt to acquire a new skill, or even purchasing a new product, leads to success. However, failure is often a part of the process necessary for attaining success

As Godin observed, “if you have chosen well, after you fail you will be one step closer to succeeding, you will be wiser and stronger, and you almost certainly will be more respected by all of those that are afraid to try.” If nothing else, failure reveals one way for not achieving the success we desire.

Stories have been told about how Thomas Alva Edison made hundreds of failed attempts for inventing the incandescent lightbulb before discovering the right way to get it done. If we examine the lives and careers of any highly successful executives and entrepreneurs, we will find their paths to success were littered with failures, times of discouragement, sometimes even bankruptcy. One secret to their success, however, was they never stopped trying. They refused to let failure define them.

We find numerous examples in the Scriptures of people who failed on their way to success. One Old Testament example was Joseph, who got on his brother’s nerves by constantly reminding them he was their father’s favorite. He was sold into slavery, then wrongfully imprisoned, but Joseph still rose to be second in command of Egypt. And he formulated a plan to overcome a devastating famine, not only for the Egyptians but also for his family and ultimately, the people of Israel.

In the New Testament, Peter, one of Jesus’ closest disciples, three times denied Him. Yet he later became one of the leaders of the early Church. And the apostle Paul was transformed from a misguided persecutor of Christians to another central figure of the first-century Church and author of numerous letters in the Bible. The Scriptures teach that failure need not be a dead end, but instead, can be a launching point. Here are some of its principles for dealing with failure:

Team up with others.Failure is easier to bear when you do not have to carry the burden alone. “Two are better than on, because they have a good return for their work. If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who fails and has no one to help him up!” (Ecclesiastes 4:9-12).

Learn to rely on God’s strength.Failure often teaches us the importance of trusting in and depending on God, His strength and wisdom. “He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak…those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles, they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint” (Isaiah 40:29-31)

Persevere when facing challenges.Quitting in the face of failure may prevent us from experiencing the joy of success if we just persisted with our endeavors a bit longer.“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).

© 2019. Robert J. Tamasy has written Business at Its Best: Timeless Wisdom from Proverbs for Today’s Workplace; Tufting Legacies; coauthored with David A. Stoddard, The Heart of Mentoring, and edited numerous other books, including Advancing Through Adversity by Mike Landry. Bob’s biweekly blog is: www.bobtamasy.blogspot.com.Reflection/Discussion Questions

Reflection/Discussion Questions

  1. How many times have you been hindered by the concern, “What if I fail?” How do you typically answer that question?
  2. What would you consider to be your greatest failure? What was its impact on you –then and now? 
  3. When you read or hear accounts of people who have achieved great success after enduring much failure, how does that affect you? Does it inspire and motivate you, or do you reason that might have worked for them, but not for you? Explain your answer.
  4. In your view, how can we – or how should we – continue to persevere in the wake of failure? What is the role of faith in dealing with failure?

NOTE: If you have a Bible and would like to read more about this subject, consider the following passages: Ecclesiastes 9:10; John 5:5-16; Galatians 6:9-10; Ephesians 5:15-18; Colossians 4:5

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