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How to Have a Really Successful Failure

Published in a collection of essays, In The College Years (2009), by the then Director of the Bureau of Study Counsel at Harvard University Abigail Lipson, Ph.D, "How to Have a Really Successful Failure" which was originally intended for college students has perspective and insight for all who have struggled to learn from their failures and understand how success is cultivated.

Why We've Included This Resource

We have many personality types in the body of Christ, one of which is the perfectionist. This essay speaks directly to that individual who, having experienced failure has found themselves unable to mentally move past the guilt and self-ridicule of having failed, or those who have tried to avoid failure with every fiber of their being, living in constant fear of it. Whether it be in studying, in family life, at work, in relationships, or major life decisions, failure is something we all will experience and cannot avoid, so we need to understand how to do it well.

What You Need to Know Before You Read

This essay was not written through the lens of the gospel, and while it aligns with the elementary truths of scripture, we want to take it one step further to the cross, because this essay offers tips and excellent insight into how to handle our failures practically and how to reorient our thinking around failure, but it offers no solution for past failures or for redemption. We can learn to fail well, but we cannot redeem our failures, or our failing souls, as God can. No matter how great the failure, our first instinct as Christians ought to be, "Lord, redeem this" in conjunction with applying the practical tips laid out in this essay.

You can download the full PDF of this essay here.


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