The leading cause of failure

By Dave Henning / June 29, 2024

“You can avoid making mistakes and play not to lose, or you can make the most of every opportunity and play to win.  I live by a simple premise: the greatest risk is taking no risk at all. . . .  The leading cause of failure is mismanaged success.  And the leading cause of success is well-managed failure.”- Mark Batterson

“My greatest concern is not whether you have failed, but whether you are content with your failure.”- Abraham Lincoln

“Little by little, I will drive them out before you, until you have increased enough to take possession of the land.”- Exodus 23:30 (NIV)

Mark Batterson concludes Chapter 6 of A Trip around the Sun with his observation that some people think of risk as a four-letter word.  Because they seek to avoid failure at all costs.  Hence, they prefer the safety of success sans the risk of failure.  Thus, low risk = low reward.

However, Mark suggests, consider Thomas Edison.  Edison took over ten thousand tries to get the lightbulb right.  Consequently, Pastor Batterson notes, Edison looked at live through a different lens than his doubters.  Rather than view his failures as failures, Edison saw them as stepping stones.  Ones necessary to land him closer and closer to his desired goal.  In addition, Edison received credit for saying:

“Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.”

Above all, Mark stresses, we tend to overestimate what we can accomplish in one or two years.  But we underestimate what God can accomplish in one or two decades.  Therefore, Pastor Batterson exhorts, keep doing the right thing. Day in and day out, week in and week out, year in and year out.  Go after dreams destined to fail unless God intervenes.

In conclusion, Mark explains:

A long obedience in the same direction (Eugene Peterson) . . . [is] the key to legacy.  I’m less and less impressed with people who experience short order success.  I’m more and more impressed with people who simply keep on keeping on. . . .  Safety is highly overrated.”

Today’s question:  What do you see as the leading cause of failure?  Please share.

Tomorrow’s blog: “Desire moves mountains”

About the author

Dave Henning

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