I know I sometimes bewilder people with my quoting somebody whose name I have forgotten by saying that one measure of success is failing at increasingly greater things. I recently heard about this book called Failing Up a review of which has a better description of the same concept.

“ ‘Failure is an inevitable part of the human journey,’ says award-winning television and radio broadcaster and New York Times best-selling author Tavis Smiley. Smiley steps from behind the curtain of success to share intimate stories of his missteps, misdeeds, and often highly publicized miscalculations in Fail Up: 20 Lessons On Building Success From Failure. These instances of perceived “failures” were, in fact, “lessons” that shaped the principles and practices that now guide his life. Readers will find a kinship in Smiley’s humanness that inspires, informs, and reminds us of our ability to “fail up” in the face of life’s inevitable setbacks. The year-long celebration of Smiley’s 20th year anniversary in broadcasting will feature the Fail Up book tour.”

–This text refers to the Kindle Edition edition.

(I am neither recommending nor not recommending this book, I just heard the title and it resonated.  If you do decide to buy this book, or anything else for that matter, from Amazon.com please go to the Home page of my blog, scroll down the sidebar and click on the Bhagavad Gita you will see there.  After that, at no cost to you, anything you buy in the next 24 hours from Amazon.com I will get a tiny commission.)

There is another story that illustrates the same principle.  A successful person was being interviewed and was asked “How did you  become successful?”

“Good decisions.”

“How did you learn to make good decisions?”

“Bad decisions.”

Not every shot on goal scores, but without risking failure you will never succeed. The person who never fails at scoring a goal is the person sitting in the stands.

Look at Srila Prabhupada’s life, he never became complacent he kept trying things and despite apparent failures and setbacks, he kept failing at increasingly greater things.  For a year he failed at getting anything off the ground in New York City but he never quit and eventually ran into future devotees like Hayagriva and now has over two hundred temples around the world.

He failed at getting support in the form of some mrdangas from his godbrothers but now there is a 24/7 kirtan/365 kirtan in Vrindaban, India and the Holy Name has been heard in every town and village.

He wanted a grand project in Mayapur but failed to see it in his lifetime but now more than 30 years after he left the planet it is manifesting.

He wanted every city temple to have a relationship with a farm community and farm communities are the basis of the second half of his mission, as he stated in 1949 and again shortly before leaving his body in 1977.  To date that would seem to be a failure but the opportunity to help Prabhupada fail up in this regard still exists.

Come fail with us. Failure is inevitably, at least let’s fail striving for something that can make a real difference.