How to Overcome Failure and Disappointments

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There was an experiment conducted by scientists where 4 monkeys were put in a cage. In the middle of the cage was a pole going upwards with bananas at the top of the pole. The more ambitious of the monkeys climbed up the pole but were met with an electric shock when they reached the top. However, because they were hungry, they kept on trying to climb the pole, only to be met again and again with electric shocks. In the end those who had been shocked a few times stopped trying and retired to one corner of the cage.
One of the monkeys was taken away and was replaced with a new monkey who did not know about the shocks. After a while, each time, they brought a new monkey in, the others will pull him down and indicate to him what the perils were -“We’ve been there, done that, worn the t-shirt. Electric shocks at the top. Don’t even try it.” The original monkeys that had received the shock, eventually were removed from the cage. None of the new monkeys had ever experienced the electric shock themselves. Meanwhile, the electric shock had been removed. The original monkeys failed to achieve, the monkeys left failed to achieve.

Don’t be influenced by other people’s failures. I know that we need to learn from other people’s mistakes but just because they could not do it, doesn’t mean that you won’t either. If God has put a dream in your heart, that means there is a plan in place to pursue it. You just need to find the right timing and season for your dreams to become reality. Learn from the monkeys. The shock was removed but no one attempted to retrieve the bananas, because of the past, even the monkeys that had not experienced the past failure still did not go for the bananas. Even though it was the right season, right timing (the shock was removed), they were crippled by others experiences. I know what I’m talking about because it has happened to me. I had a dream of starting something new and I attempted to start the project but everything fell apart. I was discouraged by some people to continue to pursue it. I was so upset and discouraged, I just became depressed and I didn’t try anything again. Even to try anything new, I just thought, “been there, done that, worn the t-shirt”. I had to shake myself out off it. I said to myself, “ I will not be another casualty of depression, I’m not going to be part of another statistic, I’m checking myself out off that!” But that dream is still in my heart and I am determined to move forward.

The past, or past failures, if you allow it, will keep you from the best God has for you.  Do not let your past define who you are. Everybody fails in life, it’s what you do with failure that will determine who you are and who you will be. You need to learn from it, what you did wrong, what you can put right. Learn from your mistakes and failures. I made mistakes and I’ve learnt from them. Your past does not determine your future. The electric shock was removed and the new monkeys would not attempt to climb to get the bananas because the old monkeys discouraged them from doing so. They meant well, they didn’t want them to get hurt, but they stopped them from trying and attempting to achieve. Just because you may have failed at something, doesn’t mean you will continue to fail at everything.
Sometimes persistence is the key,  keep on hoping, keep on trying, keep on believing you can make it.

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Abraham Lincoln is rated as one of America’s greatest presidents. His image is on Mount Rushmore among the other great presidents of America. Did you know he had many failures in his career before he was elected as president in 1860?
Here is a list of his achievements and failures:

1831 – He lost his job
1832 -Defeated in run for Illinois State Legislature
1833 – Failed in Business
1834 – Elected to Illinois State Legislature
1835 – Sweetheart died
1836 – Had a nervous breakdown
1838 – Defeated in run for Illinois House Speaker
1843 – Defeated in run for nomination for Us Congress
1846 – Elected to Congress
1848 – Lost re-nomination
1849 – Rejected for Land Officer position
1854 – Defeated in run for US Senate
1856 – Defeated in run for nomination for Vice President
1858 – Defeated again in run for US Senate
1860 – Elected President

http://www.abrahamlincolnonline.org/lincoln/education/failures.htm

He never lost hope, he kept on believing and he was able to achieve his goals despite the obstacles that came his way.  They did not deter him and neither should they deter you. Everyone has their own journey and trials they have to through.  You can make it just as the old adage says, “If at first you don’t succeed, try and try again.”

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Thomas Edison who invented the light bulb, when interviewed about his failures said, “ I have not failed. I have just found 10,000 ways that don’t work”. I believe that’s the attitude we need to have especially in this new year.

Orville and Wilbur Wright invented the aeroplane, they failed on numerous occasions, but kept on experimenting. It was their failures that made them successful. Today we are enjoying the result of their persistence and determination. Sometimes persistence is the key to success. For example, we continue to fill in applications for a new job, even though we may fail , at the application or interview stage, we continue in the hope that eventually we will get a new job. At times also, it’s good to ask for feedback from companies ( what did you did right, what did you did wrong) so that changes can be made to your interview techniques going forward.

Walt Disney was told by a movie executive earlier on in his career that he lacked imagination and had no good ideas. It is alleged he was turned down 302 times before he got financing for his dream of creating Walt Disney World. Today he holds the record for most Oscars won by an individual.

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Michael Jordan, the greatest basketball player of his time, has said, ““I have missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I have lost almost 300 games. On 26 occasions I have been entrusted to take the game winning shot, and I missed. I have failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”

A Chinese proverb says that, “failure is not falling down, but refusing to get up”. Don’t be afraid to fail. Don’t be afraid of failure. So many do not try because they’re afraid they’ll fail. I was in that position I was afraid to try again. Failure is refusing to try again.

Don’t let the past determine your future. God has said this concerning you, “ For I know the thoughts that I think towards you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not evil, to give you a future and a hope”. Jeremiah 29:11. When God puts a dream in your heart, he will give you all you need to pursue it. You may receive some resistance, you may receive some hate, but you keep pressing on and pressing in  until your dream becomes a reality .

Be wise and know your time and your season!

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