Why Temporary Defeat Is Not Permanent Failure


November 7, 2011   •   Fact checked by Dumb Little Man

Success and Failure

Life has taught me this one thing – that just because you lose today, it doesn’t mean that you’re destined to lose tomorrow. Sunshine always follows rainfall; light always pierces the darkness, and winter is always transformed into spring.

But at the same time I know how it feels to be caught in the depths of despair, where the light coming towards you is not your salvation but rather a freight train heading in your direction. To fail doesn’t mean you’re a failure. All it means is that you’ve been handed another great opportunity to learn a lesson and develop a deeper level of character formation in the process.

Failure is not final if you start to understand that it is simply a temporary defeat.

So don’t be deceived by defeat, for so many have been destroyed when defeat has touched their lives and they have allowed themselves to think that this temporary failure was in fact final. Wrong. All they needed to do was realize that while ever there was breath in their body that there was always hope. For wherever there is hope there is always a way forward.

So what should you do if you find yourself in the midst of a temporary defeat? Here are four suggestions that will help you to rise up and successfully navigate through and over your bump in the road called life.

  1. Recognize that defeat is temporary
    I learned this principle from playing weekend team sport. Throughout any season there were three possibilities – a win, a draw or a defeat.
    A win was fantastic. A draw was disappointing, but a defeat was devastating.

But what did we do? Simply dusted ourselves off, practiced a bit harder throughout the following week, and then turned up for the next game with a better game-plan in place. Respond to defeat in your own life in the same manner, and you’ll start winning more games than you lose with such a positive attitude.

  • Be inspired by reading the stories of others who faced defeat and still achieved success.
    This is the petrol or the gas that needs to be injected into your tank, on a regular basis, if you’re to complete your journey victoriously. 

Whenever I take a hit – and life does have a habit of supplying a few of those along the way – I take out that positive book, recording or movie that replays the stories of those who have faced insurmountable opposition or setbacks, and yet overcame all the way to victory. It’s not too long before I rise up once again shouting, ‘If they did it, then so can I!’

  • Ask yourself the question, ‘What can I learn from this defeat?’
    Success has only taught me one thing in life – and that is to be humble. Failure, on the other hand, has taught me to ask the question, ‘What can I learn from this defeat?’ The answer is always provided by my professor in my personal ‘University of Success’ – his name being Professor Failure. 

For there is a seed that you can draw from every setback, so make sure that you plant it firmly in your heart. For if you learn the lesson it will grow into a glorious crop that will feed both you and those whom your share your story with for many years to come.

  • Dust yourself off and get up and go again.
    Queen’s hit tune, which declared over and over, ‘another one bites the dust’ rings in my ears as I write this article. So bite the dust. Spit it out. Stand up to face your foe, and go again. Grit your teeth and press on. Success is not for the faint-hearted. It’s for those who, no matter how many times they bite the dust, will rise up from the ashes of defeat.
    These mighty ones are those who know for a fact that defeat is temporary and that failure is not permanent. 

So why don’t you share what defeat you have, or are about to, overcome today?

Motivational Memo: Defeat is temporary, and failure is not permanent if you face these events with a positive mental attitude.


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