Several years ago Stephen Pile pulled together a book he called, “The book of failures.” Pile compiled various glorious failures. For example, the Russian Anti-tank dog brigade. “During the run up to WWII the Russian army decided to train dogs to attack tanks. They strapped magnetic mines to their backs and then taught them to run to a tank where the mine would stick to the tank and blow it up. It seemed to work. Then came the problem. During battle the dogs kept running to the Russian tanks!” The dogs had been trained using Russian tanks. They had to quickly abandon the strategy.
Another famous failure came during a fireman strike in England. The English police were called in to fill the void created by the firemen who were on strike. One day a call comes in and the eager police/firemen rush into action. A lady’s cat is trapped high in a tree. No problem. They swing the big hook and ladder truck around and race up the rungs for a brilliant rescue. The dear lady was so pleased and grateful that she invited them all in for tea. After a splendid afternoon the police/firemen piled back into their trucks and waved fond farewells and backed over the cat and killed it.
Failure. We hate that word. But we are all familiar with it. Try something and you will fail. Listen, that’s not all bad. You see, without failure there can be no progress. I’m sure you’ve heard by now that Thomas Edison tried more than 10,000 different materials before he stumbled upon the right one for his light bulb. Edison later said, “I have not failed, I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”
Edison said that” failure is simply an opportunity to begin again more intelligently”. In other words, every time he failed he learned what would not work. You have to fail before you can succeed. The folks down at Ore Ida understand this. They are the frozen potato company. Years ago they realized that failure is a good thing because it means you are trying. So they brought in a cannon. Now whenever someone fails at some new experiment they gather around the cannon and celebrate the failure. This instills a spirit that says, “Keep trying.”
Look at the bible. How many times did the disciples stumble and fail. These guys were walking breathing failures. And yet, each time God patiently picked them up, dusted them off and encouraged them to try again. And eventually they got it right. You can too. Try again. Fear of failure can paralyze us. We can’t accomplish anything for the Lord if we are afraid to try. Learn from the failure and “begin again more intelligently.”