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Denison Forum – CEO wants his company to make more mistakes

If you don’t think you have high blood pressure, this story may change your mind. Or cause your blood pressure to rise.

New guidelines from the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology define high blood pressure as 130/80 or greater. Under this standard, the number of adults with hypertension will rise to 103 million from 72 million under the previous standard.

Stress causes blood pressure to rise. And fear of failure causes stress. Therefore, learning to manage our fear of failure is a healthy idea.

Failing to succeed

This topic is on my mind today after reading a surprising Harvard Business Review article. The writer quotes James Quincey, CEO of Coca-Cola Co., who says: “If we’re not making mistakes, we’re not trying hard enough.”

Reed Hastings, CEO of Netflix, told a technology conference that his company has too many hit shows. “We have to take more risk . . . to try more crazy things . . . we should have a higher cancel rate overall.”

Jeff Bezos, arguably the most successful entrepreneur in the world, adds: “If you’re going to take bold bets, they’re going to be experiments. And if they’re experiments, you don’t know ahead of time if they’re going to work.”

Jerry Jones, the billionaire owner of the Dallas Cowboys, recently described his business philosophy: “There’s nobody that I’ve ever met that bats over .500 or 50-50 on making the right decisions. There’s nobody that can see around corners. Nobody can. But the guys that succeed are the ones that cut their bad decisions off quicker than others and let their good ones run longer than others.”

What do the following Forbes quotes have in common?

  • Denis Waitley: “Failure should be our teacher, not our undertaker. Failure is delay, not defeat.”
    • Henry Ford: “The only mistake is the one from which we learn nothing.”
    • C. S. Lewis: “Failures are finger posts on the road to achievement.”
    • Robert T. Kiyosaki: “Winners are not afraid of losing. But losers are. Failure is part of the process of success. People who avoid failure also avoid success.”
    • Zig Ziglar: “It’s not how far you fall, but how high you bounce that counts.”

Robert F. Kennedy makes the point well: “Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly.”

Detours become destinations

1 Kings 18 describes one of the most dramatic victories in all of Scripture. Here the prophet Elijah defeated hundreds of prophets of Baal, winning a great battle for his Lord and his nation.

However, when news came that Jezebel sought to kill him, Elijah ran for his life. He fled to Beersheba, the farthest point in Israel from the wicked queen (1 Kings 19:3). There he was so despondent that he prayed for the Lord to take his life (v. 4).

When he was so far down he could look nowhere but up, he looked up.

The Holy Spirit spoke to Elijah, instructing him to anoint new kings over Syria and Israel. Elijah would also anoint Elisha to continue his prophetic ministry. God redeemed Elijah’s discouragement with a word that secured the future for his nation.

Here we discover an important fact: our detours can become our most important destinations.

We find the pattern repeated through Scripture: Jesus reclaims Peter after his lead apostle denies his Lord; God sends the disciples, who forsook his Son at the cross, into the world as his missionaries; Jesus redeems Paul’s persecution of his people by calling him to be his global apostle.

Use failure for eternity

Unfortunately, many Christians view failure differently than God does.

Most of us seek to avoid failure at all costs. If we do fail, we try to rectify the situation and move past it as soon as possible.

God has a different approach. His purpose in all he does is to make us more like Jesus (Romans 8:29). He used Peter’s failure to teach him the humility that would be essential to his ministry (John 21:15–19). He used Paul’s “thorn in the flesh” to teach him to say, “When I am weak, then I am strong” in Christ (2 Corinthians 12:10).

So, name your latest or greatest failure. Ask God to show you how he can use it to make you more like Jesus. Submit to his Spirit for the transformation you need.

And you’ll testify with Winston Churchill: “Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.”

 

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