“Success is not final, failure is not fatal. It is the courage to continue that counts.”

– Winston Churchill / Abraham Lincoln

Churchill or Lincoln? Do a little bit of research, and both are mentioned as the origin of this quote. It doesn’t matter who said this the first time. There is immense truth in these words, especially when you break them down…

Success is not final.

In our lives, we chase success. How we define success is different for everyone, but we all have dreams and goals that we are working to achieve. The key to remember is this. Creating success, making that dream a reality, or achieving that goal is not the endpoint. If it was, and we lived our lives satisfied with past accomplishments, we’d become complacent and quit growing. Quite the opposite, achieving success in our lives is about continuing the journey, not crossing a finish line and being done. Success is about making room for improvement, growth, and what comes next… not resting on what is done.

Failure is not fatal.

Just like success is not final, we need to remember that our journeys will come with failures. Those are not final either, and they are not fatal. Our lives are like novels that we write each day. Some chapters include failures. The key is taking those failures and not seeing them as endpoints, just like the successes. Instead, we need to make room for those to learn from our failures, seeing them as opportunities to change how we write the next chapter in our lives. Failure is a temporary state as long as we view it that way. The moment we see failure as final and we give up, then it does become fatal. We get to choose. Stop or keep moving forward, which leads us to the concept of courage…

It is the courage to continue that counts.

Will you persevere? Will you live with determination? Will you keep going through your failures and on top of your successes? Who you become in life is not determined by either one – not your success or your failure. It’s determined by how you continue, and often, continuing requires courage. It takes courage to get back up and try again when we fail. Equally challenging can be when we succeed, in those moments when it takes courage not to stay comfortable in the success, where we stretch ourselves and continue to grow. That’s what counts… those times when we must tap into the courage to continue.

The Takeaway

Don’t rest in your successes or die in your failures. What counts is continuing. Success or failure, keep moving. Keep your eye on your goals, and enjoy the journey, not just the destination. 


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