Learn to Fail Gracefully
But life will become a burden of existence unless you learn how to fail gracefully. There is an art in defeat which noble souls always acquire; you must know how to lose cheerfully; you must be fearless of disappointment. Never hesitate to admit failure. Make no attempt to hide failure under deceptive smiles and beaming optimism. It sounds well always to claim success, but the end results are appalling. Such a technique leads directly to the creation of a world of unreality and to the inevitable crash of ultimate disillusionment.
Success may generate courage and promote confidence, but wisdom comes only from the experiences of adjustment to the results of one's failures.
Those timid souls who can only keep up the struggle of life by the aid of continuous false illusions of success are doomed to suffer failure and experience defeat as they ultimately awaken from the dream world of their own imaginations.
And it is in this business of facing failure and adjusting to defeat that the far-reaching vision of religion exerts its supreme influence. Failure is simply an educational episode—a cultural experiment in the acquirement of wisdom—in the experience of the God-seeking man who has embarked on the eternal adventure of the exploration of a universe. To such men defeat is but a new tool for the achievement of higher levels of universe reality. ~ The Urantia Book, (160:4.15)
Don't Fear Failure
Having started out on the way of life everlasting, having accepted the assignment and received your orders to advance, do not fear the dangers of human forgetfulness and mortal inconstancy, do not be troubled with doubts of failure or by perplexing confusion, do not falter and question your status and standing, for in every dark hour, at every crossroad in the forward struggle, the Spirit of Truth will always speak, saying, "This is the way." ~ The Urantia Book, (34:7.8)
"Do not become discouraged by the discovery that you are human. Human nature may tend toward evil, but it is not inherently sinful. Be not downcast by your failure wholly to forget some of your regrettable experiences. The mistakes which you fail to forget in time will be forgotten in eternity. Lighten your burdens of soul by speedily acquiring a long-distance view of your destiny, a universe expansion of your career." ~ Jesus, The Urantia Book, (156:5.8)
How Jesus Met Apparent Failure
Of Jesus it was truly said, "He trusted God." As a man among men he most sublimely trusted the Father in heaven. He trusted his Father as a little child trusts his earthly parent. His faith was perfect but never presumptuous. No matter how cruel nature might appear to be or how indifferent to man's welfare on earth, Jesus never faltered in his faith. He was immune to disappointment and impervious to persecution. He was untouched by apparent failure. ~ The Urantia Book, (100:7.7)
Meaning in Failure is Preserved
No worth-while experience ever happens in vain; no true meaning or real value ever perishes. ~ The Urantia Book, (109:6.1)
Negative Emotion is a Form of Failure
"Anger is a material manifestation which represents, in a general way, the measure of the failure of the spiritual nature to gain control of the combined intellectual and physical natures. Anger indicates your lack of tolerant brotherly love plus your lack of self-respect and self-control. Anger depletes the health, debases the mind, and handicaps the spirit teacher of man's soul."
And then Jesus discoursed on the dangers of courage and faith, how they sometimes lead unthinking souls on to recklessness and presumption. He also showed how prudence and discretion, when carried too far, lead to cowardice and failure. He exhorted his hearers to strive for originality while they shunned all tendency toward eccentricity. He pleaded for sympathy without sentimentality, piety without sanctimoniousness. He taught reverence free from fear and superstition. ~ The Urantia Book, (149:4.2)"Your inability or unwillingness to forgive your fellows is the measure of your immaturity, your failure to attain adult sympathy, understanding, and love. You hold grudges and nurse vengefulness in direct proportion to your ignorance of the inner nature and true longings of your children and your fellow beings. Love is the outworking of the divine and inner urge of life. It is founded on understanding, nurtured by unselfish service, and perfected in wisdom." ~ Jesus, The Urantia Book, (174:1.5)
The career of a God-seeking man may prove to be a great success in the light of eternity, even though the whole temporal-life enterprise may appear as an overwhelming failure, provided each life failure yielded the culture of wisdom and spirit achievement. Do not make the mistake of confusing knowledge, culture, and wisdom. They are related in life, but they represent vastly differing spirit values; wisdom ever dominates knowledge and always glorifies culture. ~ The Urantia Book, (160:4.13)
The Threat of Defeat - Momentous Times...
The teachings of Jesus, even though greatly modified, survived the mystery cults of their birthtime, the ignorance and superstition of the dark ages, and are even now slowly triumphing over the materialism, mechanism, andsecularism of the twentieth century. And such times of great testingand threatened defeat are always times of great revelation. ~ The Urantia Book, (195:9.3)
A Way to Avoid Defeat?
All too often, when we battlefor the right, it turns out that both the victor and the vanquishedhave sustained defeat. I heard the Master say only yesterday that the"wise man, when seeking entrance through the locked door, would notdestroy the door but rather would seek for the key wherewith to unlockit." ~ The Urantia Book, (160:3.4)
Religious insight possesses the power of turning defeat into higher desires and new determinations. ~ The Urantia Book, (196:3.29)
But When Defeat Comes...
That, then, is the primary orelementary course which confronts the faith-tested and much-traveledpilgrims of space. But long before reaching Havona, these ascendantchildren of time have learned to feast upon uncertainty, to fatten upondisappointment, to enthuse over apparent defeat, to invigorate in thepresence of difficulties, to exhibit indomitable courage in the face ofimmensity, and to exercise unconquerable faith when confronted with thechallenge of the inexplicable. Long since, the battle cry of thesepilgrims became: "In liaison with God, nothing—absolutely nothing—isimpossible." ~ The Urantia Book, (26:5.3)
Difficulties may challenge mediocrity and defeat the fearful, but they only stimulate the true children of the Most Highs. ~ The Urantia Book, (48:7.7)
Physical status may handicapmind, and mental perversity may delay spiritual attainment, but none ofthese obstacles can defeat the whole-souled choice of will. ~ The Urantia Book, (65:8.5)
Through religious faith the soul of man reveals itself and demonstrates the potential divinity of itsemerging nature by the characteristic manner in which it induces themortal personality to react to certain trying intellectual and testing social situations.Genuine spiritual faith (true moral consciousness) is revealed in thatit: ...Produces a sublime trust in the goodness of God even in the face of bitter disappointment and crushing defeat. ~ The Urantia Book, (101:3.4)
Mortal man has a spiritnucleus. The mind is a personal-energy systemexisting around a divine spirit nucleus and functioning in a materialenvironment. Such a living relationship of personal mind and spiritconstitutes the universe potential of eternal personality. Real trouble, lasting disappointment,serious defeat, or inescapable death can come only after self-conceptspresume fully to displace the governing power of the central spiritnucleus, thereby disrupting the cosmic scheme of personality identity.~ The Urantia Book, (12:9.6)
Seeing Your Real Self in Defeat
"Yourmind should be your courageous ally in the solution of your lifeproblems rather than your being, as you have been, its abjectfear-slave and the bond-servant of depression and defeat." ~ Jesus, The Urantia Book, (130:6.3)
"The measure of the spiritual capacity of the evolving soulisyour faith in truth and your love for man, but the measure of yourhumanstrength of character is your ability to resist the holding of grudgesand your capacity to withstand brooding in the face of deep sorrow.Defeat is the true mirror in which you may honestly view your realself." ~ Jesus, The Urantia Book, (156:5.17)
Sorrow Shared is Sorrow Halved
Difficulties, sorrow,disappointment, and defeat are more painful anddisheartening when borne alone. Association does not transmute evilinto righteousness, but it does aid in greatly lessening the sting.Said yourMaster, "Happy are they who mourn"—if a friend is at hand to comfort.There is positive strength in the knowledge that you live for thewelfare of others, and that these others likewise live for your welfareand advancement. Man languishes in isolation. Human beings unfailinglybecome discouragedwhen they view only the transitory transactions of time. The present,when divorced from the past and the future, becomes exasperatinglytrivial. ~The Urantia Book, (160:2.9)
Judas' Defeat - Why it Happened
Judas met defeat in his battlesof the earth struggle because of the following factors of personaltendencies and character weakness:
- He was an isolated type ofhuman being. He was highly individualistic and chose to grow into aconfirmed "shut-in" and unsociable sort of person.
- Asa child, life had been made too easy for him. He bitterly resentedthwarting. He always expected to win; he was a very poor loser.
- He never acquired a philosophic technique for meeting disappointment. Insteadof accepting disappointments as a regular and commonplace feature ofhuman existence, he unfailingly resorted to the practice of blamingsomeone inparticular, or his associates as a group, for all his personaldifficulties and disappointments.
- He was given to holding grudges; he was always entertaining the idea of revenge.
- He did not like to face facts frankly; he was dishonest in his attitude toward life situations.
- Hedisliked to discuss his personal problems with his immediateassociates; he refused to talk over his difficulties with his realfriends and those who truly loved him. In all the years of theirassociation he never once went to the Master with a purely personalproblem.
- He never learned that the real rewards for noble living are, afterall, spiritual prizes, which are not always distributed during this oneshort life in the flesh. ~ The Urantia Book, (193:4.4)