After a failure to achieve a goal or a project, especially a large, painful one it’s common to ask yourself, “why did this happen to me?” many people will tell you that it — whatever “it” is — is part of some master plan. You went bankrupt? “It’s for the best.” Your company went out of business? “It happened for reason.” You suffered a miscarriage, or a broken relationship? “It wasn’t meant to be.”
When someone greets you with this kind of pat response, your desire maybe to hand them some pain of their own. If you believe in God, it may be hard to stomach the fact that He would make pain a part of the natural plan. And if you don’t believe in divine purpose, you may think it’s all a big crap shoot anyway, and you just have some bad luck.
Ask “What if?”
But I ask you to look at it differently. What if there was a plan? What if your failure did happen for reason? What if 10 years from now you knew you would look back and say, “Boy I’m glad that happened”?
It might be hard to go to that place where pain and failure are meant to be. But I ask you to try, just for a moment. Imagine that there is some huge divine, gorgeous plan. Imagine that everything that happens, does happen for reason. Now, look at your own failure, and ask what that reason might be.
Operation Eagle Claw
It is not just you or me. Out of some serious US military disasters came results that would not have happened (at least as quickly.) For example, Operation Eagle Claw – the attempt to rescue the American hostages in Iran in the early 80’s was a complete catastrophe. One airplane, seven helicopters and eight men were lost in the mission without the rescue of one hostage. The flaws in special ops logistics and command and control revealed by the mission would result in the creation of the Special Operations Command, now one of the key players in the Global War on Terror.
If you went bankrupt, can you see that your failure might help bring attention back to the real priorities in your life, or at least help get you out of the geographic area you dislike? If a relationship broke up, could it be that this will help you have the confidence to go after your own dreams? Could a failed goal actually bring you to a better idea, one you wouldn’t have discovered if you’d spent time and resources on your first plan?
Wallow in it or move on!
I’m not asking you to believe that there is a higher power guiding each and every one of your movements and decisions. What I am hoping that you can see, is that there is the potential for good to come out of your failure. You can chose to wallow in the misery or move on from it. Many times when people suffer a huge setback, whether it be battling cancer, a financial upset, or even a broken relationship, years later they often come back and say they are glad it occurred. I’m trying to help you shortcut that process, seeing a glimmer of hope and turning your failure, whatever was, into a lesson for the future.