DCL 5.1 Instruction | Putting a New Face on Adversity

Many people would attempt great achievements if they thought all possibility of failure could be removed. This is impossible! There is no achievement without failure. Everyone faces obstacles in life. What they are does not matter. What does matter is that we learn to overcome any problems, mistakes, adversities, and failures.


Video Presentation: Todd Mullins, Lead Pastor and Shaun Blakeney, Student Ministry Pastor, Christ Fellowship, Florida

In the midst of negative experiences, average people tend to fail backward. They respond in many of the following ways:

  • Blame others.
  • Repeat the same mistakes.
  • Expect never to fail again.
  • Expect to continue to fail.
  • Accept traditional thinking blindly.
  • Be afraid because of past mistakes.
  • Think I am a failure.
  • Decide to quit.


High achievers respond very differently. Here are some of their responses as they fail forward:

  • Take responsibility.
  • Learn from each mistake.
  • Know failure is a part of progress.
  • Maintain a positive attitude.
  • Challenge outdated assumptions and ideas.
  • Take new risks.
  • Think failure is never final.
  • Never quit.



  • What do you consider a failure? Can you think of an example from your own life or in others’ lives? What would failing forward look like in this situation?


Failure Is Not…

Changing your perspective on failure will help you persevere regardless of the circumstances. So how do you see failure? Let us begin by taking a look at several things failure is not:

1.  People think failure is avoidable – it is not.

2.  People think failure is an event – it is not.

3.  People think failure is the enemy – it is not.

4.  People think failure is irreversible – it is not.

5.  People think failure is a stigma – it is not.

6.  People think failure is final – it is not.

Adopt a new definition for failure. Regard the experience of failure as the price you pay for progress. If you will put that mindset into practice, you will position yourself to fail forward.



  • Now, consider your idea own idea of success. What does it look like to you? To the world? To God?


Biblical Case Study: Paul (Philippians 4:11)

Most historians consider the Apostle Paul one of the most influential leaders in all of human history. His epistles in the New Testament have brought guidance, inspiration, and encouragement to multiplied millions of believers through the centuries. It was Paul who said, “I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content” (Philippians 4:11). And that was saying a lot, considering that Paul had been shipwrecked, whipped, beaten, stoned and imprisoned. Throughout every hardship he faced, Paul’s faith enabled him to maintain perspective. He realised that as long as he was doing what he was supposed to do, his being labeled a success or failure by others really did not matter.

Remember: Mistakes are not failures. Adversity and hardships do not mean defeat. They are merely the price of achievement on the success journey.




Think about a recent setback you experi­enced. How did you respond? What did you learn?


Realise that there is one major differ­ence between average people and achiev­ing people. As you approach your next big project, give yourself the freedom to make some mistakes as you are working on the project.

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