Why Do You Keep Failing and What Does It Say About You?

Why you keep failingYou keep failing. It’s hard to hide at this point. What does it say about you when you keep failing? What are you going to do?
These are all reasonable questions to ask when you’re in a rough spot, finding, time and again, that things just keep not working out.
It’s true that some people are simply afraid of success. In fact, they actually feel comfortable with their lack of success. After all, if they didn’t have some sort of sorry tale to tell, what would they talk about?
But that’s not you…

You Keep Failing, But You’re Not Alone

Abraham Lincoln November 1863

Abraham Lincoln Nov 1863

…and that wasn’t Abraham Lincoln either. Check this out. Abraham Lincoln is the poster child of failure. He had more than his share of misfortune. But he persevered. He pushed forward and overcame many obstacles on his way to become the 16th President of the United States. In fact, you’re probably already more fortunate than ol’ Abe in that he grew up on the American frontier – difficult times, to be sure. And he was largely self-educated. America today is far different than in was in the early 1800s. At least some of that can be attributed to Abraham Lincoln’s contributions.
Here is a timeline highlighting many of Lincoln’s successes and failures along the way:

History professor Lucas Morel compiled this comparison from the Chronology in Selected Speeches and Writings/Lincoln by Don E. Fehrenbacher, ed., 1992.
1832 Lost job; Defeated for state legislature Elected company captain of Illinois militia in Black Hawk War
1833 Failed in business Appointed postmaster of New Salem, Illinois; Appointed deputy surveyor of Sangamon County
1834 Elected to Illinois state legislature
1835 Sweetheart died
1836 Had nervous breakdown Re-elected to Illinois state legislature (running first in his district); Received license to practice law in Illinois state courts
1837 Led Whig delegation in moving Illinois state capital from Vandalia to Springfield; Became law partner of John T. Stuart
1838 Defeated for Speaker Nominated for Illinois House Speaker by Whig caucus; Re-elected to Illinois House (running first in his district); Served as Whig floor leader
1839 Chosen presidential elector by first Whig convention; Admitted to practice law in U.S. Circuit Court
1840 Argues first case before Illinois Supreme Court; Re-elected to Illinois state legislature
1841 Established new law practice with Stephen T. Logan
1842 Admitted to practice law in U.S. District Court
1843 Defeated for nomination for Congress
1844 Established own law practice with William H. Herndon as junior partner
1846 Elected to Congress
1848 Lost renomination (Chose not to run for Congress, abiding by rule of rotation among Whigs.)
1849 Rejected for land officer Admitted to practice law in U.S. Supreme Court; Declined appointment as secretary and then as governor of Oregon Territory
1854 Defeated for U.S. Senate Elected to Illinois state legislature (but declined seat to run for U.S. Senate)
1856 Defeated for nomination for Vice President
1858 Again defeated for U.S. Senate
1860 Elected President

Compared to Abraham Lincoln, do you really keep failing?

So, you see, Lincoln had to take it upon himself to persevere, over and over. Success is rarely an easy path and what really counts, what really makes a difference is typically difficult. Otherwise, everyone would be doing it and it wouldn’t be all that special.

What does the fact that you keep failing say about you?

Are you and Lincoln all that different? You keep failing, as did he. 😉 All kidding aside, failure is a natural element on the path to success. Failure, in many regards should be respected. You took a chance. You created an opportunity from which to learn. You grow from your failures on the road to success.
So, rest assured, you will continue to make mistakes, keep failing. And, if you are who I think you are – reading to this point in this post – you will learn a few things along the way. As long as you persevere – don’t quit – you will reach your goal.
And it will be SWEET!
Enjoy the ride, my friend!
– Drew

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If you’re interested in when I found myself asking the same question – “Why do I keep failing?” check out this post!




  • Seth Lefferts January 13, 2012 at 8:17 am

    Bravo Drew. For an excellentread about Abe try “Team of Rivals”. His brilliance was in his patience and tenacity. He is one ofmy reasons for sticking to it and plugging along.

  • Stephen January 15, 2012 at 10:56 pm

    Thank you for posting this inspiring blog. Failure for me, is one element of Suceess, can anybody stand with me about this?

  • i hate failure April 4, 2013 at 11:57 pm

    keep failing a checkoff in my RT class, i keep trying and trying but nothing seems to work out, guess i will have to keep working at it until i see some sort of fruition