Abraham Lincoln once said, “My great concern is not whether you have failed, but whether you are content with your failure.” As a young person I failed often, but I was never comfortable with the idea or feeling of failure. Despite my discontent, I didn’t know how to win, or so I thought. It felt like I kept trying yet I kept failing. At the time I didn’t understand it, but there is something powerful about persistence. The more you persist, the more you learn about why your previous failures didn’t lead to victories. This informed persistence tilts you in the direction for a better shot at victory.
Although a lot has changed in my life, I still fail and I am still not content with the feeling. While there will never be a person on this planet who is harder on me than I am on myself, I am still able to see the positives in my failure. I believe we are all designed for something great. We understand the magnitude of the platforms we’ve been graciously afforded and know that even in failure our platform or voice is meaningful. This is the message that we need to share with our young people from challenged neighborhoods and those who find themselves on the losing end — encouraging those who need a kind word is how we will change the trajectory of a generation and our region.