Success: Handling Failures (Part 2)

Improvement? –

Have you ever heard someone say, “There’s always room for improvement”? I know that it’s meant to be encouraging, and it’s meant to keep you from taking things personally, but honestly it’s not always true. Sometimes there is no room for improvement.

Consider the fastest runner. Can he each time run faster and faster? Will he ever be able to outrun an automobile? No, of course not.

Consider a sentence written in perfect grammar. Will you be able to make it more perfect? No, of course not.

Consider anything you want, there is a level of perfection of which cannot be overcome. You can’t do better than a perfect score on a math test. You can’t do better than a perfectly timed piece of music. It is what it is.

However, most of the time there will be room for improvement. You should always try to find ways to improve before you determine that there aren’t any. It’s easy to try to measure room for improvement on subjective things from our own perspective, which may or may not be well informed. Consider a first year piano student. They may be able to pick out certain things in concert performance that can be improved upon, but they typically don’t have the ear and the experience to pick out the things that a trained ear would be able to pick out. Not only that, we are often too close to a situation to determine if there is room for improvement. We need to consult others – especially those who are more knowledgeable than we are.

Finally, if you don’t get that job that you wanted, it doesn’t mean that you weren’t qualified. The way that you composed your resume may be hindering you. Your interview skills may need work. Then again, everything may be just right. Improve where you can.

What if you can’t improve? What if there is no room for improvement? You can be sure that in life that even when there is no room for improvement, you can still fail to get that job, win that contract, sell that manuscript, etc. Things that are subjective are, well, subjective.

You can have that winning smile, flare for customer service, be loaded down with qualifications, and still not come out on top. Not everyone will like and appreciate your winning combination. Not everyone will hire you, buy your manuscript, or approve of whatever it is you are trying to achieve.

When that happens, keep the first part of this verse in mind.

Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.
Psalms 46:10


The challenge is to be careful with the concept of improvement. It’s really a double edge sword. If you think that you cannot improve, you may be missing something. If you cannot after consultation with experienced others determine an improvement point, remember that some things are simply subjective.

And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
Romans 8:28

Trust that God has something else in mind for you. Keep walking by faith. It didn’t work out because it wasn’t meant to be.

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