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One of the most hopeful lines I’ve read recently comes from Nobel Prize winner Rabindranath Tagore:

“My world that flourishes carries my worlds that have failed.”

Failure is human. It’s a part of every life, without exception. Failure doesn’t disqualify us; if it did, everyone would be disqualified.

The question is how to carry our failure, setbacks, disappointments.

I know from bitter experience: failure is too heavy to carry by itself. It’s too heavy if we carry it only by the handle of resentment, or denial, or guilt, or anger, or feeling disqualified.

Trying to carry failure by these handles could crush us.

But there is another handle we can use to carry—and even benefit from—failure. It’s the handle of flourishing life.

Imagine that you’re down, depressed, or just bored. Suddenly you get a surprise visit from your best friend! Or a loved child or grandchild walks into your house!

The effect is electric. Everything is different. It’s like a resurrection.

We’ll never be successful either fixing all our failures or denying them. We’ll never outgrow failure.

Instead: the more the failure, the more we go for joy, for compassion and forgiveness, for thoughtfulness, for courage, for aliveness—for the things that make our world flourish…not in spite of failures, but with an assist from our failures.

This paradox is captured well in a quote from the book, Life That Loves To Happen…No Matter What Happens by Landon Saunders. He comments on the words from Tagore:

“The surprising paradox is that only by reaching down into our ‘worlds that failed’—down to where Soul meets Life—are we able to find our ‘world that flourishes’ and reach up to where joy meets the present.”