It will not be hilarious to call failures as builders of success. Failures are often quoted as pillars of success. There are many proverbs, stories about failures used to inspire those who have failed in one way or another. Success comes through rapidly fixing our mistakes rather than getting things right the first time. Indeed it will be true to call every winner as a failure: a winner must have tasted the sweetness of failure. Every failure is not a winner, but every winner is the output of several failed experiences that have had helped him/her in stepping towards later success.

Failure is not an option. It is just an experience or lesson which drives a person to his/her success until he/she will not give up. It is life’s greatest teacher which teaches us how to achieve success. Success is neither a cup of tea nor a piece of cake. It is something more than an achievement. Unfortunately many of us give up and do not like to follow the experience of failing. It’s impossible to taste success in life without experiencing some kind of failure. It’s a part of life; everyone drinks from its bitter cup at some time or the other.  Countries taste it when they get defeated in any war or fail to bring peace, businessmen taste it when they incur losses, politicians when they lose election, doctors when an operation fails, students when they fail in examination, so and so forth.

We cannot say that a winner should be a failure first, as it wastes lots of time. But failure makes one more experienced. It is just an opportunity which wastes time but serves a good lesson for the rest of our life. It’s like when a child topples over when first learning to walk. It’s when a researcher fails in a subject over and over again, but later tops the same subject.  It’s only after a child fails in writing letters, alphabets and digits that he learns to write, first a word then a sentence – and then a book. All good experiences come after bad ones.

History stands witness that there were hundreds of thousands of failures who failed and chose to give up by committing suicide. Our news channels are showing such news all the time. History also stands witness that there were also many persons who failed but survived and then created history by making a name in any field: in science & technology, research, discovery, invention, creation, etc. Take the example of Steve Jobs who was fired from his own company or of Bill Gates who failed his exams but still managed to become the world’s richest person. The list is endless. 

Society doesn’t reward defeat, and you won’t find many failures documented/written in history books. The exceptions are those failures that whose brilliance brought them success later. Such is the case of Thomas Edison, whose most memorable invention was the light bulb, which purportedly took him 1,000 tries before he developed a successful prototype. “How did it feel to fail 1,000 times?” a reporter asked. “I didn’t fail 1,000 times,” Edison responded. “The light bulb was an invention with 1,000 steps.”

Nobody in this world chooses to fail, but everyone tastes the bitter cup at some point in their lives.  It serves as a mirror at each end of our life. It reveals our strengths, weakness, and helps in demonstrating ourselves by strengthening our efforts.

In the words of Rabindranath Tagore:

“Let me not pray to be sheltered from dangers but to be fearless in facing them.

Let me not beg for the stilling of my pain but for the heart to conquer it.

Let me not look for allies in life's battlefield but to my own strength.

Let me not crave in anxious fear to be saved but hope for the patience to win my freedom.

Grant me that I may not be a coward, feeling your mercy in my success alone; but let me find the grasp of your hand in my failure”

A failed experience delivers a lesson which teaches us to stand up to each problem. We learn more from our failures than from our triumphs. Don’t let success blind you from the fact that failure was always your greatest teacher and inspiration. No matter how successful you might be, it’s important to stay humble. Don’t get too ahead of yourself. Success is as fleeting as life itself, it can all be taken away at a moment’s notice. Nothing is permanent. The only constant in life is change. Remember that success might change your life, but it should never change who you are inside. Be respectful to everyone you encounter, and give back to the world around you.

I will end my sermon with two memorable quotes, for those who contemplate taking their lives after failing an exam:

"As Einstein said: 'Just because a fish cannot climb a tree doesn't mean it's not smart”.

“I failed in some subjects in exam, but my friend passed in all. Now he is an engineer in Microsoft and I am the owner of Microsoft.”- Bill Gates