Failure Traps

The message at church a couple of weeks ago centered around failure traps. The idea, is that there are two big failure traps that hold us and keep us from reaching our full potential.

I should mention, that this is my interpretation/ recolection/ interpretation of what our Pastor said. It’s probably not entirely accurate and probably not anywhere near “biblical.”

Now that that’s out of the way, the two big failure traps that we encounter are our pride and our past.

Our pride, keeps us from admitting that we are wrong. Pride keeps us from accepting that we’re wrong and pride keeps us from taking the action needed to improve ourselves.

Our pride, keeps us in the same rut that we’ve always been in by not letting us change directions.

Our past, keeps us from thinking that we will ever be good enough to overcome our failures and live full lives. If you think about your record of failure after failure, it’s easy to think that the next thing you do will also fail.

It’s not always a bad thing to fail.

Failure, teaches you lessons that success cannot teach you. Our past failures and our pride have the ability to hold us back and keep us from moving forward and reaching our full potential. Our failures can show us what our full potential can be.

Essentially, we need to be squeezed in order to go from failure to success. Sort of like how clay needs to be squeezed in order to make pottery. Much like with pottery, we too need to be molded and allowed to set.

Pastor Cole told the story of two pottery classes that received different assignments for their final day of class. This final assignment would produce the final grade for each student.

In one class, the students were told to take everything that they learned during the class and put their all into making a single piece of pottery that was of high enough quality to be considered a “masterpiece.”

In the other class, the students were told that they needed to take everything that they’d learned during the class and produce at least 50 high quality “masterpieces.”

Which class do you think produced the better pottery?

It turns out, that the class that was assigned to produce the 50 pieces produced better quality pieces.


Because each student knew that they had to produce a certain volume, and they didn’t let the failures stop them from reaching their goal of 50 pieces each. The students knew that over the course of the 50 pieces, that they’d get better and more efficient at producing the pottery. They failed fast and over all, the student’s 50 pieces each got better as the day progressed and were of higher quality than the other class’s work.

The class that was tasked with producing a single piece, couldn’t decide what to make as their piece. They were convinced that whatever they tried would not be good enough. Afraid of not making something that was good enough, they succumbed to “perfection paralysis.”

What’s the moral of the story?

The moral is that we have to go throughout the process. We have to start at step one and work our way from there. Yes, there’s always a chance that we’ll fail, but without going through the process of failing and then learning from our mistakes and our failures we’ll never grow as a person.

So, we have to fail in order to succeed.

We have to take a bunch of bad photos to get to that one or two that are really good. We have to write those really bad stories, or blog posts, so we can get good enough to write that one really good story.

Bottom line: it’s OK to fail, fail fast, learn from your failures and move on. It’s OK to be a cracked pot.


Rafael is an aviation geek, a consumer advocate, a dad, a multiple personality blogger, a photographer, politically opinionated, a videographer and many other things as well.

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