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Consider this quote from Abe Lincoln

"America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves."



It’s late on Sunday night when I sit down to type the weekly view into my brain and I’m preparing to spend a couple days with around two thousand of my closest FFA friends at the 88th Iowa FFA Leadership Conference. Earlier in the evening I sat in the top section of Hilton Coliseum with a young person who will be participating in a Career Development Event in the morning (what we used to just refer to as FFA Contest). I have had the distinct honor to help guide this young person as they prepared for contest and watched them grow from the first nervous sub-district contest to the state level.

As you can imagine the nerves are starting to set in and despite all of the positive energy during our discussion the young FFA member turned to me and asked, “But what if I fail?” I pondered this question for a moment and tried to be encouraging when I suddenly realized an important lesson that has escaped many of us. Sometimes failing is a success in itself.

Think about this for a moment…How many times do we spend huge amounts of energy worrying about things to come or even passing up on opportunities that are in front of us simply because we are afraid to fail? Is the chance of failure so horrifying to us that we no longer become chance takers and instead sit on the sidelines never really experiencing life? We are as humans afraid of being rejected and failure is a part of that fear. We fear talking to new people, taking a new job even stepping out of our comfort zones because of the possibility that we may fail.

Imagine if you will, all the things that we would never experience if we didn’t take the chance because of fear of failure? We would never learn to ride a bicycle because I’m quite certain that none of us learned to ride without falling a few times. We would have never graduated from anything because we would have feared to fail on a test. Not only that, but I’m sure most of us would never have learned anything beyond what we already knew as a toddler. Most importantly we would all live lonely lives because we would fear rejection and never go on dates and fall in love.

And what about Bacon? Do you think the first person to hack off a chunk of pork and fry it to a crisp intended to do that? I’m sure the directions probably called for the pork to be done medium rare and the cook got involved doing something else and forgot about what they were doing. It probably was before some big dinner and without time or another pig to start over with they thought, what the heck, why not just feed this crispy pork to them and see if they like it.

Regardless of how the contest results turn out tomorrow, be in Gold, Silver or Bronze in the end, the most important thing is that the member learned something new, some new skill that will build upon the talent they have and that in itself is a success. I’m still not going to try bungie jumping, not because I fear failing but I fear stopping fast because of the ground, but we all have to set a limit somewhere. See you next week…remember, we’re all in this together.