This is a compilation of thoughts and quotes that I have found or written recently, as well as many that I've collected throughout the years. Most thoughts are posted randomly, as I feel inspired. A listing of quotes can be found alphabetically (check the 2008 and 2009 archives listing), or by source.

Feel free to suggest additions!

“For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he.” – Proverbs 23:7

Sunday, March 8, 2015

How to Fail Successfully

The Message on "Music and the Spoken Word", Sunday, March 8, 2015
"Fail Forward"

At the start of a new semester, the president of a large university advised his students: “We will all fail. More than once. Every day.” Not exactly the inspiring pep talk they may have expected. But then he added: “My plea for you today is to learn how to fail successfully.”1

He recounted a failure from his own background as a young lawyer, when a partner at his firm pointed out errors in a document he had carefully prepared. The criticism hurt, but he reworked the document and solved the problem. The law partner then shared this wise counsel: “Good judgment comes from experience. And experience comes from bad judgment.”

Of course, no one seeks out failure, but no one can completely avoid it either. So we may as well learn from it. In fact, it could be said that if we’re not failing from time to time, we’re not learning all that we can. A child who doesn’t fall—a lot—never learns how to walk. A dancer, athlete, writer, or singer who never stumbles or makes mistakes never improves and never achieves greatness.

The key is the way we react to our setbacks and failures. Instead of becoming frustrated, ashamed, or discouraged, we can choose to go forward with new experience, broader perspective, better judgment, and renewed determination. We may continue to fail, but we can ensure that when we do, we fail forward.

The road of life is not a smooth highway paved with happiness and success. Potholes and detours along the way are meant to teach us and enrich our experience, if we are willing to learn from them. This is what it means to fail successfully—to not let life’s failures set us back but propel us forward.

- Lloyd D. Newell

1. Kevin J. Worthen, in Valerie Johnson, “Learn to Fail Successfully, BYU President Tells Students,” Church News, Jan. 13, 2015,
2. In Valerie Johnson, “Learn to Fail Successfully.” 

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