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Redefining Failure as Success

I make it a point to listen to as many audiotapes and read as many books as possible by John Maxwell, one of the finest Christian leaders and communicators today. Maxwell speaks the truth and describes it in ways that are unforgettable.

About failure, Maxwell says that we should not be ashamed of what may appear to be failure because it often means we had courage to try something different, we learned new information, and now have a better idea of how it should be done.

In other words, what some people call failure, we can call a learning experience.

If what we call failure is never final but simply a means of getting closer to our goals, then it stands to reason that the best book has not yet been written. The most beautiful concerto has not yet been composed. the most energy-efficient car has yet to come off the production line. The most effective cancer cure has not yet been developed in the laboratory. And the better you has yet to emerge.

I want to offer you a challenge.

What are you willing to do, starting today, to ratchet up your confidence a notch or two? What can you tackle right now to help you deal with your challenges in ways you never thought possible? How can you make your most intimate relationships better and stronger? How can you revisit old attitudes, and perhaps revise them, to help you reach out to those in need in creative, new ways?

To help you brainstorm on this, I invite you to write down your responses to the following:

1. Choose one specific thing to work on immediately that will help you know the joy of living confidently. Describe your objective and how you plan to accomplish it.

2. Identify the habitual ways of thinking that have been holding you back, making you afraid, and keeping you from believing your dreams will come true.

3. Based on what you have learned so far in this chapter, write down what you plan to do to make life’s circumstances adjust to your dreams and not the other way around.

4. Reflect on the Chinese proverb, “Flowers leave part of their fragrance in the hands that bestow them.” Write your thoughts in your journal.

5. What is your primary response to the statement, “Becoming more comfortable with myself is a strong sign of growth and inner confidence.”

6. In the past you have often used unreliable maps and timetables and have even chosen nonsupportive traveling companions at times. Write what you now know you must do to find inner healing.

7. Reflect on this Kenyan prayer: “From the cowardice that dares not face new truths; form the laziness that is content with half-truths; from the arrogance that thinks it knows all truths, dear God, deliver me.”

8. When you exchange your mistakes for wisdom and increased confidence, you make an excellent trade because you now know what?

9. What are three fears that have kept you from being confident about your God-given potential?

10. What do you intend to do immediately about these three fears as you develop the confidence to gain control of your life?

11. Always remember that God loves you and forgives you whether you are able to exude confidence or not at this place in your life. In your own words, write a thank-you to God for how much he loves you and for his desire that you use his strength to find inner healing.

SOURCE: Chapter 8 “The Joy of Confident Living” in How to De-Stress Your Life by Gregory L. Jantz, PhD., founder of The Center for Counseling and Health Resources Inc.

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