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從失敗學校畢業了

GRADUATING FROM THE SCHOOL OF FAILURE

(2020/10/26)

我們常會看到一位傑出的公司領導人、業務主管或企業家被描述為「偉大的成功故事」。我們津津有味的看著他們如何成功,心想,如果我們仿效他們,也能有所成就。但你是否聽過有人稱自己是「偉大的失敗故事」?

實際上,成功有很多方式,有些甚至不是我們自己造成的。努力工作、專注和決心可以帶來成功,但不是每個人都是如此。有時候,成功純粹只是好運的產物(如果你相信的話),或是在對的地點和對的時間努力。有人說,機遇就是一切。有些人成功了一次,之後花一輩子想再成功卻徒勞無功。

但是,當我們失敗時,卻更容易找出原因來。可能是錯誤的決定;不願意投入必要的精神和努力;缺乏適當的計劃;無法堅持夠久來實現目標;甚至無知,愚蠢都是可能的原因。

因為失敗的原因更容易被認出,所以我們只要願意從失敗中學習,失敗就能是通往成功的道路。英國政治家溫斯頓.丘吉爾(Winston Churchill)指出:「成功不是完結,失敗也不會致命。繼續前進的勇氣最重要。」職業籃球巨星麥可.喬丹(Michael Jordan)說:「我可以接受失敗。每個人都曾失敗。但我不能接受不去嘗試。」

勵志演說家、顧問和作家丹尼斯.魏特利(Denis Waitley)告訴我們:「失敗應該是我們的老師,而不是我們怪罪的對象。失敗是因為拖延不做,而非被打敗。失敗是暫時走岔了,而不是死路一條。如果我們什麼都不說、什麼都不做,什麼都不是,只想逃避,那就是失敗。」

聖經令人耳目一新的特點之一就是坦率,真實地呈現了關鍵人物令人難忘的失敗經驗,從亞當和夏娃開始,再到像挪亞這樣的人。後來更有以色列國之父雅各、士師參孫、大衛王和他的兒子所羅門和耶穌的眾多門徒等。

使徒彼得是基督最親近的追隨者之一,他也許是屢次失敗卻最後成功的最佳例子。在耶穌被釘十字架的前一天,「那時,耶穌對他們說:「今夜,你們為我的緣故都要跌倒。因為經上記著說:我要擊打牧人,羊就分散了。但我復活以後,要在你們以先往加利利去。」彼得說:「眾人雖然為你的緣故跌倒,我卻永不跌倒。」耶穌說:「我實在告訴你,今夜雞叫以先,你要三次不認我。」彼得說:「我就是必須和你同死,也總不能不認你。」眾門徒都是這樣說。(馬太福音26章31-35節)。

儘管彼得當時說了勇敢卻衝動的誓言,但他最後卻是拒絕了耶穌,正如耶穌所預言的一樣,不是一次而是三次。彼得第三次拒絕耶穌之後,「主轉過身來看彼得,彼得便想起主對他所說的話:「今日雞叫以先,你要三次不認我。」他就出去痛哭。」(路加福音22章61-62節)。

幸運的是,故事還沒有結束。在約翰福音21章1-19節中,我們看到了耶穌原諒了彼得,寬恕了他的背叛。耶穌三次問西門彼得說:「約翰的兒子西門,你愛我嗎?」在三次得到肯定的回答之後,耶穌告訴他:「你餵養我的羊。」真是令人難以置信的失敗和寬恕。我們知道彼得後來成為初代教會的領袖之一,他的兩封書信也出現在《新約》中。

在職涯或屬靈的領域,你還在失敗中掙扎或正在恢復中嗎?請記住,失敗不會致命。失敗是一位了不起的老師,它只是通往成功路上的岔路而已。

© 2020. Robert J. Tamasy 是企業巔峰: 給今日職場從箴言而來永恆的智慧 一書的作者。也與導師之心作者David A. Stoddard 合著Tufting Legacies。編輯多本著作包括Mike Landry. Bob的書: 透過苦難成長。Mike Landry. Bob的網站為www.bobtamasy-readywriterink.com

備註:想知道聖經中關於這個主題的更多信息,請參考以下經文(因經文篇幅較長,請參閱未列出的經文約翰福音44-21)
箴言12章11節
12:11 耕種自己田地的,必得飽食;追隨虛浮的,卻是無知。
箴言134
13:4 懶惰人羨慕,卻無所得;殷勤人必得豐裕。
箴言15章19節
15:19 懶惰人的道像荊棘的籬笆;正直人的路是平坦的大道。
箴言2430-34
24:30 我經過懶惰人的田地、無知人的葡萄園,
24:31 荊棘長滿了地皮,刺草遮蓋了田面,石牆也坍塌了。
24:32 我看見就留心思想;我看著就領了訓誨。
24:33 再睡片時,打盹片時,抱著手躺臥片時,
24:34 你的貧窮就必如強盜速來,你的缺乏彷彿拿兵器的人來到。
使徒行傳1536-41
15:36 過了些日子,保羅對巴拿巴說:「我們可以回到從前宣傳主道的各城,看望弟兄們景況如何。」
15:37 巴拿巴有意要帶稱呼馬可的約翰同去;
15:38 但保羅因為馬可從前在旁非利亞離開他們,不和他們同去做工,就以為不可帶他去。
15:39 於是二人起了爭論,甚至彼此分開。巴拿巴帶著馬可,坐船往塞浦路斯去;
15:40 保羅揀選了西拉,也出去,蒙弟兄們把他交於主的恩中。
15:41 他就走遍敘利亞、基利家,堅固眾教會。
提摩太前書4章11節
4:11 這些事,你要吩咐人,也要教導人。

反省與問題討論
第一、你會想聽哪一種故事?偉大的成功故事或偉大的失敗故事?為什麼?
第二、你同意我們從成功的經歷中學到的,會比從成功的方法中學到的更多嗎?如果是,你認為原因是什麼呢?
第三、你從工作中的失敗中學到了什麼教訓(如果有的話)?如果時光可以倒流,你會告訴年輕的孩子如何面對失敗?
第四、你認為彼得失敗之後感覺如何?耶穌對他的寬恕讓他能恢復並繼續服事,發揮了什麼樣的功用?你能想到是什麼讓彼得堅持不懈、不灰心也不放棄嗎?


 

MONDAY MANNA
October 26, 2020

GRADUATING FROM THE SCHOOL OF FAILURE
Robert J. Tamasy

 

Often we see a prominent corporate leader, business executive or entrepreneur described as “the great success story.” We are regaled by accounts of how they achieved success, as examples of how we too can experience high levels of achievement if we emulate them. But have you ever heard of anyone described as “the great failure story”?

In reality, success can come in many ways, some even not of our own making. Hard work, dedication and determination can bring success – but not for everyone. Sometimes success is a product of sheer luck of good fortune (if you believe in those). Or being at the right place at the right time. Timing, as they say, is everything. Some people find success once, and spend the rest of their lives trying in vain to find it again.

However, for whatever reason, when we fail it is much easier to identify the reason. We can point to bad decisions; unwillingness to put in the necessary energy and effort; lack of proper planning; failing to persevere long enough to attain our goals; ignorance, or even foolishness.

Because the factors of failure are much easier to recognize, failure can prove to be a pathway to success if only we are willing to learn from it. It was British statesman Winston Churchill who observed, “Success is not final, failure is not fatal; it is the courage to continue that counts.” Pro basketball superstar Michael Jordan said, “I can accept failure. Everyone fails at something. But I can’t accept not trying.”

Denis Waitley, a motivational speaker, consultant and author, offered this perspective: “Failure should be our teacher, not our undertaker. Failure is delay, not defeat. It is a temporary detour, not a dead end. Failure is something we can avoid only by saying nothing, doing nothing, and being nothing.” 

One of the refreshing distinctives of the Bible is its candid, unvarnished presentation of the memorable failures of key individuals, starting with Adam and Eve, but continuing with people like Noah; Jacob, the father of the nation of Israel; Samson; King David and his son, Solomon; and many of Jesus’ disciples.

The apostle Peter, one of Christ’s closest followers, is perhaps the foremost example of someone finding success despite repeated failures. On the night before His crucifixion, Jesus told His disciples, “This very night you will all fall away on account of me,” to which headstrong Peter replied, “”Even if all fall away on account of you, I never will” (Matthew 26:31-35).

Despite his bold, impetuous oath, we read that Peter indeed denied Christ, not once but three times, as the Lord had predicted. After the third denial, we are told, “The Lord turned and looked straight at Peter…. And he went outside and wept bitterly” (Luke 22:54-62).

Happily, the story does not end there. In John 21:1-19, we see an account of Christ restoring Peter, forgiving his betrayal. Three times Jesus asked Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” After each time the disciple responds in the affirmative, He told him, “Feed my lambs…. Feed my sheep.” What an incredible account of failure – and forgiveness. From there we know Peter went on to be one of the leaders of the early Church, and two of his letters appear in the New Testament.

Are you struggling, or recovering from failure? Vocationally – or spiritually? Remember, failure is not fatal. It can prove to be a wonderful teacher, merely a detour on the pa th to success.

© 2020. Robert J. Tamasy has written Marketplace Ambassadors: CBMC’s Continuing Legacy of Evangelism and Discipleship; Business at Its Best: Timeless Wisdom from Proverbs for Today’s Workplace; and The Heart of Mentoring, coauthored with David A. Stoddard. Bob’s biweekly blog is: www.bobtamasy.blogspot.com.



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Reflection/Discussion Questions

1.Which would you rather hear, a great success story or a great failure story? Why?
 
2.Do you agree that we often learn more through the experience of success than through the process of achieving success? If so, why do you think that is?
 
3.What lessons – if any – have you learned from failure in the workplace? If you could travel back in time, what would you want to tell your younger self about how to deal with failure?
 
4.How do you think Peter must have felt after his failures? How about the forgiveness Jesus offered him, restoring him to continued service? What can you imagine enabled Peter to persevere, to not lose heart and quit?



   NOTE: If you have a Bible and would like to read more, consider the following passages:
    Proverbs 12:11, 13:4, 15:19, 24:30-34; John 4:4-21; Acts 15:36-41; 1 Timothy 4:11