2-Minute Spirituality – What Can a Child Teach Us About Failure?

by Pulkit Mathur, The Spiritual Bee

Stamps for Children - A stamp of Romania illustrating the sport of rock climbing.

“ No man ever achieved worth-while success who did not, at one time or other, find himself with at least one foot hanging over the brink of failure. ” --- Napoleon Hill

When we watch a child take his first unsteady steps in the world, we see his countless failures; his successes are but a few. If we had to limit our observation to a narrow space of time, the sight would be rather cruel.

But we find that in spite of his repeated failures there is an impetus of joy in the child which sustains him in this seemingly impossible task. The child does not dwell on his failures but takes delight in keeping his balance, though for only a moment.

“The history of the world is a history of a few men who had faith in themselves. That faith calls out the divinity within.
You can do anything. You fail only when you do not strive sufficiently to manifest infinite power.
Believe first in yourself and then in God.”
– Swami Vivekananda

Like these accidents in a child’s attempts to walk, we meet with failures in various forms in our every day life, showing the mistakes in our plans, the imperfections in our knowledge and the weakness in our will.

When we select for observation a limited area of our activities, our individual failures and miseries loom large in our minds; but when we step back and take a wider view, our failures appear as critical stepping stones on the path to self-improvement and eventual success.

The goal of any failure or suffering being not to reveal our many shortcomings, but rather to propel us to seek out the infinite potentials that lie unutilized within us. And Nature supports us in this endeavor, by giving us the perfect tools to help us overcome our present limitations, and move us forward – the ideals of hope and faith.

Within each of us is this hope, this faith which lead us on, always walking in front of our present narrow experiences; which never accepts any of our disabilities as a permanent fact; which recognizes no such word as impossible, and accepts no such reality as failure; which dares to manifest the powers of the infinite spirit within us; and as a result our wild dreams become true every day.

This essay has been borrowed from the book: Sadhana: The Realisation of Life, by Rabindranath Tagore (1861-1941). The book is a wonderful collection of spiritual discourses given by Tagore, to the boys in his school, in Bolpur, West Bengal. The text has been presented here with modifications for the purpose of enhancing readability and understanding.

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