Lessons from ‘failure’

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By Angie del Rosario

My Dearest...

Friday, May 9, 2014


HOW did I feel after my name was called up the stage to get the 2nd prize trophy last week at Clark Holiday Inn?

Honestly, I felt so bad. But I had to keep a smiling face as our Division G team and everyone else happily, loudly, and proudly applauded for me.

In my heart I knew I had delivered a speech with the most powerful content I had ever come up with. I also knew that I was at my best in its delivery. Even though I was told by my wife, Angie, that I had missed out 2 punch lines without my even realizing it, the judges and the audience never noticed it. It was proof that my already poor memory has deteriorated further, and Alzheimer’s could just be around the corner. How could I have missed those two lines, when I had memorized the 7 minute speech perfectly in my last few practice runs? Only God knows!

God works in mysterious ways.

This was my third time to join Toastmasters International Speech Category competition, and my third time to reach the finals. My hopes were high even though I knew I was an average speaker, and almost all my mentors, and co-communicators were more gifted in speaking and/or better trained to do so. I had surprised myself when I first won in 2008.

And when I tried again 2011, God blessed me once more, as I again won the right to represent our country internationally. In all three competitions, I faced great communicators. I felt like a David against the Goliaths!

What did I have against them? I was simply gifted with a bigger dose of Perseverance, Persistence, and Prayers the first two times.

So, did God fail me this time? Or did I fail God in my Prayers?

It will take me more than just a week to find out the answers.

In the meantime, I will assume, I was “Out-prayed”!

Looking back, I do remember my first “Do the Shift - Taktaraktak” speech. When an unfortunate situation happens, check out which category it falls under: “Tragedy”, “Mishap”, or “Temporary Setback”. Obviously placing second out of eleven finalists did not fall under the first two; so, it must be under the third.

Once so classified, a better perspective and attitude was brought forth.

Looking back, was I “crazy” to try it a third time? Even some of my family members told me I was! Anyway, in hindsight, I gladly look back at it as a wonderful experience.

Did I have “Everything to lose, and nothing to gain” by joining a third time?

I look back and say, “I had everything to gain, and nothing to lose!”

In victory, one can only become proud or stay humble.

For such situations, Proverbs 27:21 is a good reminder: “the crucible for silver, and the furnace for gold, but man is tested by the praise he receives”

In “defeat”, one can only be humble and be humbled.

For such a situation, including temporary setbacks, Proverbs 19:21 consoles: “Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.”

God is good! He allows us to taste both victory and “defeat” to allow us to build character!

My Dearest Children,

Thank you for supporting me with your presence in the eliminations and in the finals, and for bearing with me in all my practices.

You have witnessed both victory and “defeat”. I pray that I have been a good example to you, your siblings, and to others, in both situations.

Each of you inspire me and remind me to live out my oft repeated line: “For God in all we do, be the best we can be!”

Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on May 10, 2014.

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