Failure IS an option!

How many of us have used words such as “everything is gonna be all right” when we have no idea if what we are saying is really true? Or what about the famous prep talk line: “Failure is not an option.” Well, I got news for you: failure is ALWAYS an option. It is an option because there are always winners and losers. It is an option because we are don’t always get it right the first time and it is an option because failing is not the end of the world.

I prefer to say that though failure is undesirable, it should not be treated as the ultimate enemy. We should do our best not to fail, but should failure occur, we should know learn how to get out of it. Saying “failure is not an option” leaves us stranded. After a defeat, the losing team could rightly say, “If failure was not an option, they forgot to inform the other team.” Furthermore, the “vanquished” have performed a feat of wonder — turning a non-option into a viable one, a certain victory into a resounding defeat. Where do we go now? Harakiri, anyone?

That’s why I admire Pepe Guardiola, the F. C. Barcelona head coach. His team is 10 points behind Real Madrid in “La Liga,” Spain’s professional soccer league. He said recently that the championship is all but lost for Barcelona. Some of his players weren’t happy with that and disagreed publicly. Not to be outdone, Jose Mourinho, the Real Madrid coach, who cannot keep his mouth shut, quipped: “In football there are no miracles; only surprises.”

Some would say that Guardiola’s words only discourages his players. I disagree. My feeling is that being the experienced coach that he is, he wants his players to know how it feels when the certainty of a second place awaits you. He wants them to remember what it is like when you have to rely on your adversary failing miserably in order to have a chance to get to the top. Perhaps this will motivate his squad to avoid this predicament next year. I hope not, because I am a big time Real Madrid fan.

That reminds me of the warning Paul gives to people at the church in Corinth: “If you think you are standing strong, be careful not to fall.” But he goes on to say that with every test there is a way of escape. Sometimes, I am afraid, the way of escape is a resolve not to repeat the same mistake again.

So let’s resolve to fail as little as possible, but if it results in growth, let’s fail as often as we need to. In other words, let’s embrace failure but also develop a good dose of disdain for it.

Ivanildo C. Trindade