How to Deal with Failure

November 10, 2007 § 1 Comment

“My great concern is not whether you have failed, but whether you are content with your failure.” – Abraham Lincoln

Failure can either break us or make us. Those broken by failure are haunted by unpleasant memories. These memories are like shadows that lurk in front, behind, beside, beneath and above. It is also a cage that traps the mind, preventing it to entertain possibilities of freedom and success. They are convinced that they cannot do it; therefore, they will not try.

For those that failure could not break are those who became made “men.” Failure to them is not a ghost, but a friend who taught them well. It is also a stepping stone to wisdom. These men and women are convinced that true failure only happens when one gives up.

History has been kind to President Abraham Lincoln. He has been painted as probably the greatest president of the United States of America. It is the good thing that history also recorded his failures. It reflected his frail humanity but also showed his attitude of never giving up.

These failures could not stop him, he kept moving forward. The following is a short list of his ups and downs and ups.

1831 – Failed in business
1832 – Defeated for legislature
1833 – Again failed in business
1834 – Elected to legislature
1835 – Sweetheart died
1836 – Had a nervous breakdown
1838 – Defeated for speaker
1840 – Defeated for elector
1843 – Defeated for Congress
1846 – Elected for Congress
1848 – Defeated for Congress
1855 – Defeated for Senate
1856 – Defeated for Vice-President
1858 – Defeated for Senate

He was defeated more times than he won, but that did not mean he was a failure. Remember, that failures are only permanent if we stop trying. I believe the only real failure is the failure not to move on.


the only way
to deal with failure
is to learn from it
and move on


Brix, a friend of mine, narrated his adventure in climbing Pico de Loro, a mountain that spans parts of Cavite and Batangas. He said that he was exhausted and was about to give up. He told the guide that he wanted to go down. But the guide said that he was only a few more steps from the peak. What a waste of effort if he gave up. But his efforts were rewarded by the view and by the lesson. Now he can’t stop talking about the experience. Just look at his blog site.

A breakthrough may just be a few steps away. What a pity for those of us who would stop moving on. As far as I am concerned, the only way to deal with failure is to learn from it and move on.

The end result for Mr. Lincoln was that he became president and through his influence, was able to defend the constitution by winning the civil war, and was able to free slaves in certain states through the Emancipation Proclamation. He even tried to give voting rights to the blacks for which he was assassinated. He has been long gone yet he is remembered dearly by all who read about his story. His very name is a legacy of success!

What would be your end result? You may not know everything but you can determine your attitude to failure. You can either allow it to break you or allow it to make you. Your call!

By Ed Pilapil Jr. ©


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§ One Response to How to Deal with Failure

  • Welf X says:

    Nicely Written, full of wisdom and very inspiring. Failing many times narrows your focus to the situation and lets you forget that by failing you already moved a step forward. If you then look at the big picture later you see that you progressed.

    btw: I think I spotted a typo:

    Is: those who became made “men.”
    Should be: those who became made “men”.

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