Tag: failure

Want to be a millionaire?

The common line is….”I just wish I could win the lottery.”   Or….”I’ll be working until the day I die….I don’t know what retirement is.”   Some of us justify our poorness by saying “my treasure is in heaven” or “I’m richly blessed in other ways.”  All of those may be true statements.  Wealth is a tricky creature.  There are new get rich schemes started every day.

I made the decision at a young age to own a business.  Other than part time summer jobs while I was in school I have never worked for a company.   For me it was a passion.  Of course I thought I’d get rich along the way but that wasn’t my driving force.  But when my company bottomed out in 2009 I hit rock bottom with it.  Two things bothered me – 1) It was my baby and it was dying and I had to do something to save it; and 2) I immediately thought that I was too old in my 50’s to recoup the loss and rebuild it.   For the first time I wished that I had gone another path – school teacher, pastor, or anything that was paying a pension.    I won’t get into the depression topic but you know that was rough.

The crazy thing about wealth is that we all work to get it.  Some of us make it to “wealth”  but most of us get to the level of “getting by”.   “Getting by” is a very subjective term and worthy of a whole different article!

Here is the crazy point that I’m getting at:  I started my business in 1980.  I bought my first Apple Macintosh in 1985 (I still have it).  I sweated a lot of trials and frustrations over the last 36 years trying to make it.  I could have easily bought $10,000 of Apple stock, taught 6th grade and I would be worth almost $3 million dollars today plus a pension.   Did I miss the opportunity?   Yes but I could have bought $10,000 in stock in 2007 and I’d be worth $740,000 which is far better than my business did in that time period.

Opportunities don’t disappear.  Yes they change.  The hard part is knowing what will be an opportunity and what will be a failure.  Steve Jobs and Bill Gates started out close to the same time as me.  I don’t need to tell you who made more money.  Someone will come up with the new opportunity today.  I don’t care how many times you have failed in the past, you can be a part of the new thing today.  If not today, maybe tomorrow.

God doesn’t want you living in a shelter.  He has opportunities laid out before you every day.  Wake up tomorrow and look for them.  You might be surprised what you find.

Ephesians 5:16  Make the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.
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Don’t Believe the lies

It’s a brand new year…again.  Time to set goals and to reflect on the past year.  My encouragement for this year is “Don’t believe the lies”.  We all battle the attacks of the enemy in some way.  For some we may be too fat.  For some we may be too old (or too young).  For others we may be worthless or without talent.  I’ve said it before that I battle with “Failure”.   Here’s my example today:

I’ve been playing the stupid (I call it stupid because it is very addicting!) game of ‘2 Dots’ on my phone.  I hit a level that I couldn’t pass.  Immediately I began to believe that I wasn’t good at the game and that I was a failure because I couldn’t pass one level.  God pointed out to me (as a lesson) that I was battling over level 775.  “If you are not good at this game, how could you have won 774 games before this level?”  Good point I said.  “Remember when you got frustrated at level 50 and you quit and deleted the app only to download it again the next day start over?”  Yes I said and I now I’m at 776 because I finally won 775 as I began writing this.

How many times do we look at one failure and believe that our whole life is a failure?  How many times have you loved your children but you sulk when you lash out in frustration or weariness and believe that you are a bad parent?  How many times have you sinned and felt like God will never love you again?  How many times have you ended a project and say you will never try again?

Don’t believe the lies.  You are not called to failure and you are not called to quit.  If you do it wrong this time, throw it out and start over.  God doesn’t love you because you are successful.  He loves you because you are you.  Count the 775 things that you have done right and don’t worry about the one that has you frustrated at the moment.   You have way more successes than failures.  Remember that!

Luke 1:37
For no word from God will ever fail.
hannahpraise

Chosen . . . Last

While many people list “gym” as their favorite subject in school, I can’t agree.  You see, I was one of those “chosen last” kids when teams were formed.  If you didn’t have the joy of participating in American Gym class, here is how it worked: The teacher picks two popular jocks to be “captains”.  The “captains” then pick their teams one by one starting with other jocks and their friends.  The picking ends with the nerds, special needs, fat, skinny and asthma kids.  Everyone knew where they fit into the hierarchy before the picking began.  Personally I just stood against the wall and waited until it was over and I was picked by default.  There was something special about the disgust shown in needing to take me because I had leprosy or would single handedly cause the team to lose.  One would think that a teacher would have more wisdom than inflicting pain on their students.

I’m not trying to gather a pity party.   I didn’t feel like I was being bullied.  I just wasn’t “wanted”.  I had no skills to offer.  Teams are not built on social conscience or welfare mentality.  Even if the teacher had written out a team list, I still would have known that I wasn’t an asset.

What does this say about life?  Where do we fit in?  Are we an outcast?  Are we nerds, special needs, fat, skinny or suffering from some disability?  Do we stand back and try not to care?  Do we get angry and try to stand out as rebels?   Do we merely suffer through the life events that we don’t succeed in and try to find joy in the areas that we excel in?  What if we don’t excel at anything?

Here are a couple pointers: give thanks for what you have, never give up, give praise to God and have faith.  God has a plan for you.

Luke 17

11 Now on his way to Jerusalem, Jesus traveled along the border between Samaria and Galilee. 12 As he was going into a village, ten men who had leprosy[b] met him. They stood at a distance 13 and called out in a loud voice, “Jesus, Master, have pity on us!”

14 When he saw them, he said, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were cleansed.

15 One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. 16 He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him—and he was a Samaritan.

17 Jesus asked, “Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? 18 Has no one returned to give praise to God except this foreigner?” 19 Then he said to him, “Rise and go; your faith has made you well.”

Judges 6

13 “Pardon me, my lord,” Gideon replied, “but if the Lord is with us, why has all this happened to us? Where are all his wonders that our ancestors told us about when they said, ‘Did not the Lord bring us up out of Egypt?’ But now the Lord has abandoned us and given us into the hand of Midian.”

14 The Lord turned to him and said, “Go in the strength you have and saveIsrael out of Midian’s hand. Am I not sending you?”

15 “Pardon me, my lord,” Gideon replied, “but how can I save Israel? My clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my family.”

16 The Lord answered, “I will be with you, and you will strike down all the Midianites, leaving none alive.”

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What’s the worst thing that can happen?

One of my catch phrases in business and life is “what’s the worst thing that can happen?”  I am dealt many hard scenarios to battle through in business.  When I have a challenge to work through, I give myself perspective by looking at the worst outcome possible and then building from there.

Here is a really simple example:  Today I was driving on a busy highway and I was in the wrong lane to exit off.  The worst case option would be to hit someone and cause an accident.  The next option would be to stay in the lane and get off at the next exit and circle back.  This isn’t a great option but it is far better than the 1st one.  Again, it’s all about perspective.

What are you facing today that has you down and worried?  What is the absolute worst (WORST) thing that can happen?  Ok, now take a deep breath.  That worst thing probably won’t happen . . .so start moving up the list.  What will happen probably won’t be the end of the world and it will resolve in some way.

Have faith.  Have hope.  Have patience.  Know that God will be glorified and that a little bit of light will shine down on you while you walk through it.

Psalm 41All my enemies whisper together against me;
    they imagine the worst for me, saying,
“A vile disease has afflicted him;
    he will never get up from the place where he lies.”

Isaiah 51:6 Lift up your eyes to the heavens,
    look at the earth beneath;
the heavens will vanish like smoke,
    the earth will wear out like a garment
    and its inhabitants die like flies.
But my salvation will last forever,
    my righteousness will never fail.

world fell apart

I thought I failed

I was created by my mother to reproduce; I assume to be her legacy.  But I was a failure from the start as it was learned that I was not fertile.  I was removed from my mother immediately (again I assumed because I had no worth to her).  What good is an infertile being to it’s mother?  After being loaded in a dirty truck I was put through harsh showers and abused by harsh lights and belts only to end up in a dark cold box where I was cold and alone.  What had I done to deserve this?

Again I was moved, lifted, boxed and moved again only to end up in another cold place where I sat for days, possibly weeks.  After one more move I found myself in the worst predicament of my life – in boiling water!  God, I cried, why am I being tortured when all I ever wanted was to grow up to be like my mom?

In the intense boiling water I became harden.  My once loose flexible self became hardened to life.  I could absorb hits and bumps and I fought back.  I wasn’t going to take the abuse anymore and be broken like some of my friends.  Children grabbed at me and laughed.  They abused me with dyes and stickers and markers.  They laughed and taunted me.  They left me out on the ground and then brought me back inside to the cold torture again.  Why?  I remained hardened and angry at the life I was given.

The next day I was removed from the cold again and slammed against a hard surface!  More abuse.  It took several hits but I finally gave in and broke.  My skin was pulled off and I laid exposed and cut apart into pieces.  That was the end.  I never became like my mother.  I never lived to know her.  I had no offspring.  I had no legacy.  I was a failed, abused, tortured infertile being with no purpose!  What a sorry life.  What a sorry end. . . .

I never understood my calling.  I never realized that I turned out exactly the way my master wanted me to be.  I never realized that all the trials I went through were required for me to become the creation that I was meant to be.  What I thought was torture was really preparing me and forming me into my destiny.  What I counted as loss was really my master’s will.  What I counted as abandonment was actually the fruitfulness that I was meant to be – I brought joy to people.  I brought nourishment to people.  I brought happiness to children.  I had an important mission all along but I couldn’t see it.  I never understood and only looked at what I thought I should be.  How could I have missed the most important realization of what I was meant to be?

Why do we live in sorrow for what we have failed when God has a much bigger plan for us?  Why do we fight against the plan for our lives?

Jeremiah 1:5 “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,
    before you were born I set you apart;
    I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.”

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Here comes that dreamer

I am amazed in business how people with vision are judged.  Big or small, young or old, anyone who sets out with a vision is judged by friends and enemies alike.  Christians are no better – we may coat the language in “loving” terms and mention discernment and wisdom but ultimately we are judging and declaring failure over others.

Why?  Jealousy, anger, bitterness are definitely major roles.  Feeling left out of the call may be a part.  Not grasping the vision can lead to it as well.

How many times have you heard, “He will never make it.  He doesn’t have what it takes” or “He has no training” or “She is too young and flighty” or “They will never keep that together since dad left”.  Sometimes we are right with our judgment but does that make it right to judge in the first place?  Why is it our concern?  Why don’t we wish them the best instead of tearing them down?

It is tough to make it in business.  Most of us work hard to just get by each day.  Few of us become wealthy tycoons.

We all have callings.  We all have failures and short comings.  Let’s not make another one by casting doubt and failure on a brother or sister.

Genesis 37:19 “Here comes that dreamer!” they said to each other. 20 “Come now, let’s kill him and throw him into one of these cisterns and say that a ferocious animal devoured him. Then we’ll see what comes of his dreams.”

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I lost, or did I win?

Some Random Thoughts on success and failure following the elections and World Series.

Success and failure are two items that are very, very hard to judge and evaluate.  No one wants to lose.  No one wants to get second place.  Who remembers who was the loser in last year’s World Series or the Superbowl?  Those players may walk off the field feeling like failures but they did get to 2nd place.  Would they have been better off not making it into the playoffs at all?

Let’s take a rising baseball star who is “famous” for his high school ball playing.  He leaves high school a hero and huge success.  He gets into minor league play and is “average”.  He makes it to a major team but is benched and fades out after two years.  Still loving to play baseball, he signs up to play minor league ball in small towns for several years before ending up a coach for a high school team.  Here is the question: When was he most successful?  A rising star in high school?  An average minor player?  A lack luster major?  An average left over player?  Or a coach?  When was he a failure?  Was he ever a failure?

Although his professional career was not “shining”, he did make it to the professional arena.  This is far beyond the hopes of most ball players.  By most standards, this player was very successful and he should be elated.  In reality, he may sit in his room and feel like a total failure because he didn’t “succeed as a professional”.   Would he have been happier to walk away as the high school success?

Many incumbent politicians got voted out of office yesterday.  Are they failures?  Is holding a governor’s post for four years a failure because of not getting re-elected?  Is it an oxymoron to use the term “failed presidency”?  If you make it to the level of president, can you be considered a failure?

We should all strive to reach the best and highest level that we can.  At some point, we will all reach our limit of “success”.  We all hit a point of limit – it may be because of talent, skill, age, time, or just will power.  Success isn’t gauged by the point of limit but the attitude and effort getting there.

Although the “failed” baseball player didn’t succeed in his eyes, in my view he outdoes the player who quits before making the big league.  The challenge to all of us may be finding the “success” at whatever level we are at.  That ball player may end up being the best coach the school ever had.  That failed governor may become the best husband, father, grandfather and citizen in the state.

That is success in my book.

“Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go.

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We don’t live in Disney Land

Everyday I see new ads and articles on the latest “miracle”.  Diets, Health, Long life, Wealth, Success.  Just do “this” and your life will be changed forever.  I have always struggled with “failure” attitudes.  I wish these “miracle” cures could help but I don’t believe any of them.

I have hope in Jesus.  I have life.  I receive love that I don’t deserve.  We all face trials but we can all rest in His arms.

Life is hard but God is bigger than all of it.  It would be nice to live in Disney Land but reality doesn’t let us.  We all struggle at times but He is with us in each battle.

Genesis 3:16-18

New International Version (NIV)

16 To the woman he said,

“I will make your pains in childbearing very severe;
with painful labor you will give birth to children.
Your desire will be for your husband,
and he will rule over you.”

17 To Adam he said, “Because you listened to your wife and ate fruit from the tree about which I commanded you, ‘You must not eat from it,’

“Cursed is the ground because of you;
through painful toil you will eat food from it
all the days of your life.
18 It will produce thorns and thistles for you,
and you will eat the plants of the field.

When your purpose ends

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This is one of my all time favorite photos. Imagine that you own a railroad company and you pay to cut out a line through the mountains. You dig out trees, level the earth, lay down track and finally after months or years of work you are ready for a train to run on the line. Everything is fine until one day no one needs your train anymore. What do you do with the miles of track that are there?

Many railroad companies just left the abandoned tracks where they were. Dead tracks. Dead jobs. Dead ends. Failed dreams. It all came to an end. It could be depressing and a bitter disappointment to anyone who lived off the railroad.

But out of the disappointment, beauty can grow. Out of the hardship we thrive and grow again. This tree doesn’t know that it is growing in a dead end. It saw a place to grow and took advantage of it. Turn your dead ends into beauty. Look past the disappointment and look to new vision.

Genesis 15:5
He took him outside and said, “Look up at the sky and count the stars—if indeed you can count them.” Then he said to him, “So shall your offspring be.”

Stumble and Fall

Stumble and Fall

This is the second time this year that I published on failure.  You’re seeing the true dark clouds that hang over me.  My reply is: Have you ever met a happy prophet?  I sometimes wish that I was called to be an evangelist.  Evangelists always seem to be eternally happy, positive, and have a lot of energy.  They’re also very likable (unlike prophets).  A friend of mine once said in a sermon, “no one invites prophets over for dinner.  They don’t even want to sit in the same row with them in church”.  As I looked both ways, my row happened to be empty.  Personally, I’ve always liked pastors the most but we will save that for another day.

What inspired me to write this today was a random search on Google.  I had no reason to search the word “failure”.  I was merely bored and was curious as to what would come up.  The top listing was Wikipidea.  The 3rd one was a dictionary definition.  Not surprising.

The 2nd listing was “George W. Bush/The White House”.  Now stop and think about that.  Whether you liked W. or not how can you equate 8 years as the president of the United States to failure? (Please don’t send me any hate mail).  I’m not going to try to evaluate this.  I only posted it for the fact that no matter where we end up in life, we can feel and/or be evaluated as a failure.

When I struggle, I usually look to King David.  What a man after God’s heart.  It’s easy for us to say because we read about him long after he lived.  I’m sure that those who served with him had their doubts at times.

Regardless of his mistakes, David stayed true to his heart for God and the calling that God placed on him.  You too have a heart for God or you would not be serving in your capacity.  You also have a calling.  Seek out God as you walk through it.  It is not a question of IF we will stumble and fall.  It’s a question of will we allow God to pick us up.

Blessings to each of you today.

Psalms 30:1  I will exalt you, Lord,
for you lifted me out of the depths
and did not let my enemies gloat over me.
Lord my God, I called to you for help,
and you healed me.
You, Lord, brought me up from the realm of the dead;
you spared me from going down to the pit.

Sing the praises of the Lord, you his faithful people;
praise his holy name.