Wednesday, August 4, 2010

No Great Gain without Failure

My colleague in the King's College business department, Brian Brenberg, recently published this great little piece on the First Things website: "Why We Need Failure."

Here's a taste:

Winston Churchill probably hated every one of the bumps that made his life’s road so inspiring. But he also knew that winning and losing are inseparable. “Success,” he said, “is going from failure to failure without losing your enthusiasm.” It’s not fun to fail, but it’s inevitable. Try as we might, we can’t get rid of failure in our lives unless we all agree to never get out of bed (and even that’s not without risk). The sooner you get used to dealing with things going wrong, the sooner you can get on with the business of finding ways to make things go right.
It is interesting to read the unqualified disaversion to failure in some of the comments on the article. Yes, some of our lives include terrible tragedy. That's not what Brenberg has in mind. ("So you say your three years old has eye cancer. Well, pick yourself up and learn from it!" Not the point.) Where do the complainers look for support? "Muscular unions." Where do they not look? There is not a word about God's loving providence.

Prompted by Brenberg's article, I offer my own reflections on failure and success at in "The Failures Behind American Success."

Brian Brenberg is assistant professor of business and economics at The King’s College in New York City. He holds degrees in public administration and in business from Harvard University.

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