Winston Churchill once defined success as going from failure to failure without any loss of enthusiasm. I wish I was familiar with this quote during my final two seasons as a youth baseball coach. I can’t remember how many games my team lost as defeat became of way of life. Since these 2 teams only won 4 games, just one in my final season, celebrations were few and far between. This likely explains Churchill’s emphasis on enthusiasm, learning from each failed attempt to ensure the same mistakes of the past aren’t repeated in future battles.
For the Lord your God is he who goes with you to fight for you against your enemies, to give you the victory, Deuteronomy 20:4.
In my first and only season as a head basketball coach, my players never experienced defeat, going 13-0. The only time this team trailed at the half was in the city championship game, down by 10 points. Clawing back in the second half, these players fought hard to send the game into overtime. On the final play in overtime, my sixth man collected a weak side rebound, tipping the ball in at the buzzer. When perfection is achieved, enthusiasm comes naturally. Yet, as a coach, sometimes failure serves as a wake up call. If a team despises losing, the fear of defeat motivates players to do everything in their power to ensure victory.
I can do all things through him who strengthens me, Philippians 4:13.
Last Friday I received news that Hollywood rejected my latest screen play. While this news should have been devastating, my soul was comforted by a Winston Churchill quote I heard on the radio. C.S. Lewis defined success as the process of arriving in Mere Christianity. A century earlier, Thomas Edison discovered 2000 ways how not to produce electricity before finally inventing the incandescent lightbulb. If you can learn one thing from history it is that failure is a necessary evil to spur souls on to reach their ultimate goal. As for me, I’m not sure if I will ever write a successful movie that is bought or produced by Hollywood. Nonetheless, if I turn to Christ who strengthens me, my enthusiasm for writing will return so that my dream of writing one screen play per year in retirement may soon become a reality. This is how I plan to bounce back from defeat.
by Jay Mankus