Failures, repeated failures, are finger posts on the road to achievement.

One fails forward toward success.

Failure, even repeated failures, can serve as finger posts on the road to achievement. One can fail forward toward success as C. S. Lewis states in this quote. Failure is NOT our aim, but if it comes, we must count it as a “finger post” on the road to success.

This post is co-written by Mark Alan Williams and Beth Harris. Beth is a wife, mother, Bible study leader and volunteer editor for markalanwilliams.net.

What is a “finger post?” Google says it is “a post at a road junction from which signs project in the direction of the place or route indicated.”

When we experience a failure, we know the direction NOT to head in! So, we go the other way. Hopefully it is the way of success.

Sometimes it is only after we have experienced failure and repeated failures that we achieve success.

We may think, if only I could have, should have, or would have done things differently. I could have avoided a lot of pain and suffering. That might be true and it may be difficult to see anything positive in our failures. But at least they showed us which direction not to head in.

You might ask, “But, how would C. S. Lewis know anything about repeated failures?”

I (Mark) was astounded to learn that Lewis was admitted to Oxford University only because of a shortage of students after WWI. He was unable to pass the entrance tests in science and mathematics.[1] The tragedy of the war resulted in an open door at Oxford.

So, Lewis did know about failure from personal experience. In fact, everyone does. The difference between us is if we use repeated failures to point us on the right direction, the direction of success.

Failure means that we took a risk and tried something new. We stepped outside of our comfort zone.

Recently, I (Beth) was lamenting to a friend over a past decision that I had made. But, she helped me to see the experience and wisdom that I had gained as a result. As disappointing and painful as my failure was, I realized that I was grateful for all the growth.

Sometimes it’s only by viewing our failures in hindsight that we see the blessings.

It is wonderful when God shows us how He has used every misstep, wrong turn and error to prepare and shape us for the next achievement and success.

Remember, God promises to bring good even out of the most terrible failures. Romans 8:28 says, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” (NIV)

Failure and growth are painful, but they can help us on the road to achievement.

When we keep getting up after we fall and allow our failures to teach us, then we are failing forward.

The important thing to remember is to keep trying and don’t give up!

Have you experienced any failures and what did you learn from them?

Your thoughts are welcome! You can leave a comment below.

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[1] Janet and Geoff Benge, C. S. Lewis Master Storyteller, (Seattle: YWAM Publishing, 2007), 69.

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