The Importance of Failure

When your best just isn't good enough.

This past June I participated in a mission trip that took place right in my home town of Charlotte, NC. During the trip, the students  involved on the worksites have the privilege of being encouraged from a guest speaker. This year’s speaker was Andrew Holbrook. In keeping with the theme of the week, “Walking Worthy” (Ephesians 4:1), Holbrook taught on the principles from Luke 5 when Jesus called the first of his twelve disciples. One of his major points relied on the motif that, “In order to learn how to walk well, you first have to learn how to fall well.”

In a recent article by Maria Popova and published by Brain Pickings, Popova dissects Ed Catmull’s,the cofounder of Pixar, fearless embrace of failure. Catmull banishes the idea that “failure is a necessary evil” with the philosophy that,

“Mistakes aren’t a necessary evil. They aren’t evil at all. They are an inevitable consequence of doing something new (and, as such, should be seen as valuable; without them, we’d have no originality).”

Catmull continued unpacking this fresh idea by explaining that,

“To disentangle the good and the bad parts of failure, we have to recognize both the reality of the pain and the benefit of the resulting growth… We must think of the cost of failure as an investment in the future.”

Both Holbrook and Catmull share a brilliant point. That is, in order to live a fruitful and “worthy” life, we have to learn from failure. Holbrook further more made the point that standing back up requires turning back to God. Obviously non-Christians still have the ability to learn from their failures in order to achieve success; but as failure relates to sin, the only way to stand back up requires turning from that sin and accepting the hand of Christ.


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