The Lessons of Failure

In moments of solitude, which are few these days, I often contemplate the state of our union and where we find ourselves not just politically, but socially and morally as well. And one over arching concept keeps coming to mind, and that is, we as a society, particularly our younger generation, have forgotten how to fail. Failure is a very important part of a successful life. It builds character, it strengthens resolve, it teaches caution, and most importantly it builds self reliance. Throughout history, failure has been instrumental in not only shaping the lives of great people, but in shaping the direction of this great country. General Washington lost many a battle in the early days of the revolution before honing his strategic skills and ultimately winning the war. It would have been very easy for Washington to simply give up, after all it was bone chilling cold in many of those of important battles and many men died, yet Washington learned from his mistakes and his failures and pressed forward. But maybe above them all was President Lincoln, whose resolve was only steeled by his failure. In fact I have the following list of Lincoln’s failures posted in my office:

  • 1831 – Lost his job
  • 1832 – Defeated in run for Illinois State Legislature
  • 1833 – Failed in business
  • 1834 – Elected to Illinois State Legislature (success)
  • 1835 – Sweetheart died
  • 1836 – Had nervous breakdown
  • 1838 – Defeated in run for Illinois House Speaker
  • 1843 – Defeated in run for nomination for U.S. Congress
  • 1846 – Elected to Congress (success)
  • 1848 – Lost re-nomination
  • 1849 – Rejected for land officer position
  • 1854 – Defeated in run for U.S. Senate
  • 1856 – Defeated in run for nomination for Vice President
  • 1858 – Again defeated in run for U.S. Senate
  • 1860 – Elected President (success)

How many of us can honestly say we would have kept going? Yet President Lincoln is to this day regarded as one of, if not the greatest President this country has ever elected. Americans need to learn how to fail again, but our politicians win elections by promising to not let anyone fail. Corporations receive bail outs, farmers receive subsidies, and the poor receive an ever growing list of entitlements to the point that failure is becoming a lost concept. We all need to learn that failure is not the end of the world, in fact, it is often times a new beginning. There are many great historical quotes on failure, one of course is “Failure is not falling down, it is not getting back up”, but two of my favorites have always been:

– “Good people are good because they’ve come to wisdom through failure”  – William Saroyan.

– “Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up”  – Thomas A Edison

I posted this under the category of “Conservative Values” because in my opinion, the concept of failure is lost on most liberals. They are aghast when conservatives suggest that failure is the best option when speaking of auto companies, financial industries, and those individuals who over reach financially. It’s not that we want them to be down and out, it’s that we know what promise failure can bring.

34 thoughts on “The Lessons of Failure

  1. Cluster August 16, 2012 / 6:52 pm

    Speaking of failure – George Obama has learned from it:

    George may be a drinker and a skirt-chaser but, as becomes clear from his book, he is also a survivor. He has overcome his past as a gang-member and petty thief and now works as the organizer of a slum soccer league. He is trying to uplift himself, and he is trying to help slum kids aspire to a better life.

    Too bad his brother hasn’t. What does Barack say? “We are our brothers keeper”? Evidently he excludes himself from that.

    Read more:

    • Count d'Haricots August 16, 2012 / 7:53 pm

      I think you’re missing the progressive subtext: you are my brother’s keeper.

      Liberals don’t actually take care of anyone; they expect you to do it; they want your taxes so the government can provide for the poor, they want your charities funded by your donations to help the needy. They want your churches to take care of the people they don’t want to think about.

      Obama ignoring his own family in need and lecturing us about taking care of the least able among us is perfectly consistent with the liberal (hypocrisy) mindset.

      Besides, what would George do with a $6,800 coat?

  2. Count d'Haricots August 16, 2012 / 7:31 pm

    Edison also wrote: “Show me a throughly satisfied man and I’ll show you a failure.” But, Laurence J. Peter (The Peter Principles) said it best, “The great question is not whether you have failed, but whether you are content with failure.”

    I’ve had six businesses in my life; was successful at two. Had one marriage, successful. Had four careers, successful at three. Can’t wait to see what failures are ahead of me.

  3. doug August 16, 2012 / 7:46 pm

    I would hope that if the time came that Ford Motor Co. was facing bankruptcy because the federal government partnered with their competitor that you wouldn’t shoot from the hip and say that Ford should just be allowed to fail.

    Same thing with agriculture….if the Federal government through it’s myriad of environmental rules and regulations places an immense economic burden on a class of farmers, I would hope that you don’t shoot from the hip and scream, “let them fail” when the government offers pennies on the dollar to help with the costs of meeting those new burdens.

    • Count d'Haricots August 16, 2012 / 8:00 pm

      Now, who can argue with that?

      That is the finest example of circular argumentation (and true pioneer bullshit) we’ve seen in months!

      No doug there isn’t a real conservative anywhere that wouldn’t argue for government non-intervention when government creates a problem that government wouldn’t fix, if government didn’t have to go to the government to raise government money to fix a government subsidized problem. No one is saying that!

      Do you ever listen to yourself doug?

      Do you have any control over how looney you allow yourself to become?

      • Cluster August 16, 2012 / 8:05 pm


      • doug August 16, 2012 / 8:12 pm

        Couldn’t tell that from the OP, to me it sounded like corporations that receive bailouts and farmers that receive subsidies are being denied justifiable failure which would be for the best. In most cases, and yes, even in the case of GM, it is government intervention in labor issues, environmental issues, regulatory issues, etc. that brings down many of those farmers and businesses.

        The farmers and businesses can handle free enterprise, it is when government regulation is added to the equation that their chance of failure skyrockets.

      • Count d'Haricots August 17, 2012 / 12:26 pm

        Or, put another way Spook, in the purely hypothetical construct of doug’s world, we would not support another government sponsored failure predicated upon government sponsored failure.

        Look at Romney’s Plan for dealing with China (vis-à-vis trade) the idea is to force China to compete in a legally allowable way, not to subsidize American producers that have difficulty competing because of China’s practices.

        Doug’s hypothetical is flawed in another sense, not only did Ford not go belly up and GM and Chrysler will, the farmers he touts are all competing under the same burdensome rules and the same government sponsored encumbrances. A shared misery for the domestic market and a hobble for the export market; with, coincidentally CHINA.

        How can this doug person pose as a conservative when the premise of the question assumes government intervention in the free market is ever desirable? I smell a fraud.

      • doug August 17, 2012 / 3:29 pm

        Count, “Doug’s hypothetical is flawed in another sense…the farmers he touts are all competing under the same burdensome rules and the same government sponsored encumbrances,:

        Count, pull your head out, that is completely and utterly false and a ridiculous way to defend a blanket call for eliminating ag. subsidies.

        Now, if you localized the farmer situation it could be true. For example, our community of farms are facing an EPA regulation and state ecology regulation where the government is specifically requiring us to spend about half of the value of our farms in dollars to do a specific thing that they aren’t requiring other communities to do. This is a relatively new requirement that wasn’t in place when most of the farms were purchased.

        The larger farmers are using this as a way to force the sale from smaller farms. They are working with the government to put legal pressure on the smaller farms to make them go bankrupt faster so that they could purchase their land at lower cost.

        The feds have offered a subsidy to help offset the cost of meeting their regulation, this subsidy amounts to about one-third the cost of meeting the requirement.

        Now, I ask you, is it fair for farmers to lose their farms because they don’t have the economies of scale working for them to offset abrupt cost increases brought on by government regulation?

        You make it sound like it is fair because those larger farms are succeeding and they have to meet the same regulations.

        We could do this for many industries….

        The government has used it’s power to take without compensation value from business and farm owners. They take their value in the form of increased regulation, excessive wage and benefit requirements and other things – they take that value from us without compensation….it’s Kelo but worse.

        When the government pays back pennies on that dollar that they took, it is just a start, they owe more. We built it, yet they have stolen what we’ve built.

      • Count d'Haricots August 17, 2012 / 6:55 pm


        See: First Rule of Holes.

        The solution to government subsidy failure is NOT government subsidy.

        What part are you struggling with?

    • Retired Spook August 16, 2012 / 8:10 pm

      I would hope that if the time came that Ford Motor Co. was facing bankruptcy because the federal government partnered with their competitor that you wouldn’t shoot from the hip and say that Ford should just be allowed to fail.

      That was EXACTLY what most of us said. Chrysler and GM said they couldn’t make it without government bailouts, and then they went bankrupt anyway. Ford said they were going to make it without a government bailout, AND THEY DID!!

      As anyone who has been around here very long knows, I’m generally not into calling people names, but your an idiot, Doug.

      • doug August 16, 2012 / 8:16 pm

        Best re-read that spook, before calling me an idiot. That comment had nothing to do with whether or not GM should get a bailout, but solely on whether or not Ford should get one if the Govt.’s actions with GM caused Ford to falter.

      • bozo August 16, 2012 / 9:21 pm

        It doesn’t seem to be about “should” and “shouldn’t ” with this crowd. It seems to be more about cheering failure to achieve their stated number one priority – a one-term Obama. Even though GW bailed out GM in December of 2008 by executive order (look it up…I’ll wait), and Obama is privatizing that asset as fast as possible, it’s Obama who is the big socialist, and everything he touches must fail, or Republicans lose. Ford’s success means Obama didn’t torpedo business. Ford’s failure means Obama destroyed the market for Ford.

        There must be no success between now and November, no matter the cost.

        BTW, I’m still trying to read something profound into the title “The Lessens of Failure.” Almost poetic. Almost.

      • Count d'Haricots August 16, 2012 / 9:25 pm

        No, shifferbrains it has EVERYTHING to do with GM receiving a bailout.

        Jeez, watta loon.

      • watsonredux August 16, 2012 / 9:28 pm

        Is the profoundness supposed to come from the headline, which uses the word “lessens” as opposed to “lessons”? Let’s see, failure lessens… well, um, er, something. Perhaps it is a headline failure on Cluster’s part, which can only lead to greater headlines in the future.

        Of course, given that Cluster believes that everything President Obama has done has been a failure, he should be cheering for his re-election without reservation.

      • tiredoflibbs August 16, 2012 / 9:46 pm

        I am sick of these whiny proggy drones (creepy assclown and watty) with their crying about non-proggies trying to cheer failure to achieve the White House. As if they have never tried it in the past – 2004 comes to mind.

        However, they don’t like the reality that this pResident is a failure of epic proportions. Where else can a pResident spend over $4 trillion and have NOTHING to show for it?

        That the reality drones, deal with it. As obAMATEUR said almost four years ago,

        “And that’s to be expected, because if you don’t have any fresh ideas, then you use stale tactics to scare voters.

        If you don’t have a record to run on, then you paint your opponent as someone people should run from. You make a big election about small things.”

        he fulfilled his own statements. The truth hurts, proggies.

        So, if you have an employee that can’t do the job, you keep him around for another four years? Or do you bring in someone who can do the job?

        It is a no brainer. You drones are just pissed because WE KNEW he would fail! We weren’t cheering for him to fail. We did not have to – he did it all on his own. History is a wonderful teacher if you are willing to listen. You drones and your proggy masters don’t learn from history and are destined to repeat your mistakes over and over.


      • Cluster August 16, 2012 / 11:16 pm

        Good catch on that Watson. I didn’t even notice that in my rush to get the thread up. And you are correct, Obama has failed at nearly everything, but the real failure is Valerie Jarrett. She has failed her way to the top. Read “The Amateur”, it might open your eyes.

      • Retired Spook August 16, 2012 / 11:43 pm

        Best re-read that spook, before calling me an idiot.

        My reading comprehension is just fine, Doug. You posed a hypothetical that didn’t happen. You basically issued a challenge that other Conservatives here would react (or not react) a certain way to something that ended up turning out the opposite of your hypothetical. “I would hope that if the time came that Ford Motor Co. was facing bankruptcy because the federal government partnered with their competitor…..”. The federal government DID partner with their competitor. That partnership DID NOT force Ford into a bankruptcy situation — it resulted in GM and Chrysler going bankrupt instead. There ought to be a message there somewhere.

      • dbschmidt August 17, 2012 / 11:45 am

        I would have to guess Bozo is referring to what the WSJ wrote about as “The Bush administration said it would lend $17.4 billion to General Motors Corp. and Chrysler LLC, buying them a few weeks of financial relief but leaving the biggest decisions about the industry’s future to President-elect Barack Obama. as his ace in the hole. (emphasis mine) Just one more thing Bush did that I disagree with.

        Surprising is there is no mention of how Goldman Sachs or MF Global getting off without even a slap on the wrist because they are great friends of “the One we have been waiting for..” I guess not slam dunk enough for the DoJ (like the NBPP case or F&F).

        Nope. “We need to see Mitt’s tax returns” is the only cry from the “most transparent administration ever”–it must be ~ just like Pelosi claiming she was going to “drain the swamp.” How about we see how Reid, Pelosi & her husband make their fortunes? You know–where every State and territory of the US needed minimum wage standards except America Samoa where it would have lead to devastation of the local economy. Minimum wage was bad for the economy???

        The list could go on and on but they all have one thing in common–OPM.

        That and one would think that Obama/Biden would hire someone to make sure the speeches they give are grammatically correct. Everyone here in the South (NC in my case) knows that Y’All is singular–All Y’All is the plural. Get it correct Biden.

      • Mark Noonan August 17, 2012 / 12:15 pm


        Ultimately, though, the GM bailout is Obama’s – regardless of what sequence of events, Obama is taking full credit for GM’s “success”. GM is being touted – by Obama – as what good can come from government intervention in the private economy. So, he owns it – and, by extension, all Democrats own it. We GOPers? Nothing to do with it.

        And here’s your real problem: GM is about to go bankrupt, again.

      • Cluster August 17, 2012 / 12:49 pm

        Everyone here in the South (NC in my case) knows that Y’All is singular–All Y’All is the plural. – dbschmidt


        And Mark, let’s not forget about Obama parading around right after the election with his “President Elect” emblem, and giving lectures on the “right thing to do”.

  4. Casper August 16, 2012 / 10:31 pm

    “I posted this under the category of “Conservative Values” because in my opinion, the concept of failure is lost on most liberals.”

    Are you suggesting we have different values? If so, I disagree.

    I have failed at many things is my life, but I’ve also learned from my failures and become successful because of the lessons I’ve learned. I’ve also been in a position where I failed to get a job that I applied for only to end up with a better job later on.
    I also have found that what one person considers a failure, another person sees as a success.

  5. Cluster August 17, 2012 / 7:29 am

    I find it curious that not one of the liberals even touched on the George Obama story. Everything you need to know about Barack Obama is told in that story, and he loses my voted on that issue alone. The other day I was accused of someone who would “walk over glass” to vote for a candidate with an R behind their name, of which I took great offense too, and of which I promptly disproved. But what I will “walk over glass” to do, is to take care of my family, and I question not only the Faith of someone who doesn’t, but I also question their standing as a human being.

    Barack Obama IS A FRAUD.

    • tiredoflibbs August 17, 2012 / 8:57 am

      “Barak Obama IS A FRAUD.”

      Doesn’t he also have an aunt and uncle living from government check to government check (welfare & disability)? Weren’t these relatives or others threatened with DEPORTATION?

      I don’t see BarACKWARDS! doing anything for them either. He is one for lecturing, but when it comes to putting HIS money were his big mouth is, he is predictably silent.

      If he is the epitome of progressive compassion, then it is in a sad, yet typical state from those “who care”.

    • dennis August 17, 2012 / 3:51 pm

      Cluster, you place a great deal of confidence in the veracity of Dinesh D’Souza’s Fox News story, which tends more than a bit toward self-congratulation. You could hardly write a better script for a movie – Dinesh comes to the rescue of the president’s abandoned half brother. Oh, wait, Dinesh did just write a script for a movie – about Barack Obama! And George Obama even appears in it!

      More on George and Barack in a moment – let’s first look at a few other of Dinesh’s claims: Appearing on the Glenn Beck show he claimed the Obama admin sent a letter to the government of Scotland saying the release of the Lockerbie bomber would be “okay.” D’Souza said Obama’s supposed anti-colonialist point of view justified the release because from that perspective, “America is the rogue element, invading other countries,” so “Muslims who strike out against America are ‘freedom fighters’, they are resisters of American imperialism.”

      Whoa, talk about projection… Here’s an excerpt from the actual letter sent to Scotland: “The United States is not prepared to support Megrahi’s release on compassionate release or bail. We understand that Scottish authorities are ensuring that Megrahi receives quality medical treatment, including palliative care, while incarcerated. The United States maintains its view that in light of the scope of Megrahi’s crime, its heinous nature, and its continued and devastating impact on the victims and their families, it would be most appropriate for Megrahi to remain imprisoned for the entirety of his sentence.

      D’Souza also claimed that Obama’s support for a moratorium on oil drilling after the BP spill was actually due to his desire to “decrease U.S. energy consumption so that we have less so that previously colonized countries have more.”

      Here’s wording from the moratorium issued by Interior Secretary Ken Salazar: [After] “the recent blow-out and oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico,” “I find at this time and under current conditions that offshore drilling of new deepwater wells poses an unacceptable threat of serious and irreparable harm to wildlife and the marine, coastal, and human environment” and “[t]herefore, I am directing a six month suspension of all pending, current, or approved offshore drilling operations of new deepwater wells in the Gulf of Mexico and the Pacific regions.”

      There are multiple instances of this with Dinesh D’Souza. He wanders freely from known facts and often deep into the realm of fantasy, spinning out ideological motivations that originate not in any objective reality, but wholly in his own imagination. Of course this is something you, Amazona and others here do too; perhaps this is why you gravitate so quickly to Dinesh’s self-serving story about George Obama.

      Dinesh’s biggest problem with George seems to be that in his movie George appears reluctant to badmouth his famous half brother, even when goaded by Dinesh to do so. Nobody knows all the dynamics in that scenario, but we do know for certain that Barack Obama’s biological father took multiple wives in different parts of the world and sired a bunch of kids he never had relationships with, so the “family” fabric is exceedingly thin to begin with. To take it on faith that you, cluster – champion of self-reliance and the hard lessons of failure – would walk on glass to take care of George if he were your brother, is quite a tall order.

      Finally, relying solely on Dinesh D’Souza’s self-serving account for your understanding of Barack Obama’s moral principles (“everything you need to know about Barack Obama is told in that story”) is exactly the kind of childish credulity you would show total contempt for, if someone else were doing it. And of course, if it weren’t trashing Barack Obama’s character.

      • Cluster August 17, 2012 / 4:40 pm

        Wow, that was a lot of words and a lot of spin Dennis. But from someone who has openly admitted to never criticizing this President, unfortunately your “opinions” just don’t carry a lot of weight. Especially with me.

        Interesting to note that you can not deny that Obama never helps his family, and cite the “thin” family thread as if that makes it acceptable. But it does give cover as to why Obama chooses to not personally help anyone else either. I guess the question would be, how “thick” does the bond need to be before Obama would get up off his ass? It’s now widely known that he easily discarded several big contributors and supportive people along the way to the Presidency, including Rev Wright and Oprah to name a few. So his character is less than human, along with yours. I find you and Obama to be contemptible, despicable and basically worthless human beings.

        Have a nice day.

      • Amazona August 17, 2012 / 4:53 pm

        As for “trashing Barack Obama’s character”, that ship has sailed. All we are doing now is pointing to the trail of incompetence, corruption and dishonesty lying in his wake.

        You do seem quite impressed with Salazar’s comment. Gullible, ain’t ya? Salazar had to claim a legitimate reason but as none of it was supported by fact it was nothing more than excuses.

        “…(wandering) freely from known facts and often deep into the realm of fantasy, spinning out ideological motivations that originate not in any objective reality…” sounds like the most coherent thing you have ever written—if you are describing the Obama campaign and the squalling of you Obamabots.

      • dennis August 18, 2012 / 2:11 am

        Cluster, I’ve never “admitted” to never criticizing this president. I reserve that criticism for venues other than this blog, where you’ve got that job covered already.

        I can’t affirm or deny whether Obama helps his extended family members or anyone else; I don’t know. Neither do you – nor can you, cerainly not on the basis of D’Souza’s story.

        Nobody is worthless – not even me or you. From the richest CEO to the drunk on the sidewalk – we’re all property belonging to God, who alone knows the true worth of each one of us.

      • neocon1 August 18, 2012 / 9:59 am

        sorry denny YOU are a leftist POS…live with it.

      • neocon1 August 18, 2012 / 10:00 am

        we’re all property belonging to God, who alone knows the true worth of each one of us.

        and he has a special place for people like you…..HELL

  6. tiredoflibbs August 17, 2012 / 12:24 pm

    ““We need to see Mitt’s tax returns” – the cry from the pResident and his leftist lemmings.

    “And that’s to be expected, because if you don’t have any fresh ideas, then you use stale tactics to scare voters.

    If you don’t have a record to run on, then you paint your opponent as someone people should run from. You make a big election about small things.”- BarACKWARDS! obAMATUER.

    What BarACKWARDS! obAMATUER has a record of FAILURE and no fresh ideas – just wash, rinse and repeat the same old failed crap from his dialectic and mindless ideologues.

  7. Count d'Haricots August 17, 2012 / 1:39 pm

    “HILLARY SAID NO” Is the Headline @ Drudgereport.

    Hillary’s stock just went up in my book! The sexist Obama just got bitch slapped by America’s Premier Bitch!

    You GO Gurl!

    • neocon1 August 18, 2012 / 9:58 am

      You GO Gurl!
      the GLTB world must be sooooo “proud”

  8. theshadowiswatching August 18, 2012 / 2:36 pm

    OK—— enough is enough.

    From now on, accusations of homosexuality are going to be removed and the person who continues to make them will be removed if this continues. Moderator’s call—no whining.

    Reprinting examples of black crime will not be tolerated unless they are relevant to the topic. Moderator’s call—-no whining.

    This blog is not a place to engage in racial stereotyping or sexual commentary. Moderator’s call—-no whining.

    Moderators have discussed the direction of the blog when these kinds of activities are allowed and find them unacceptable.

    Profanity is not allowed and we do understand what is meant when only letters are used. No. It is that simple. No. Moderator’s call—-no whining.

    Keep it clean, keep it on topic, and do not fall prey to the urge to respond to posts with nothing but insults. Entire conversations will be removed when they degenerate in personal squabbles. Moderator’s call—-no whining

Comments are closed.