We Can Achieve Success Even in the Presence of Failure

by Dr. Scott Andersen in , ,


Failure doesn’t have to always end badly. I had an example of that today when I decided to spend my Saturday traveling from my home in Vineyard, UT to visit the Spiral Jetty, a very unique art project.

Spiral Jetty is an earthwork sculpture constructed in April 1970 by American sculptor Robert Smithson.

Built on the northeastern shore of the Great Salt Lake near Rozel Point in Utah entirely of mud, salt crystals, and basalt rocks, Spiral Jetty forms a 1,500-foot-long, 15-foot-wide counterclockwise coil jutting from the shore of the lake.

A professional photographer friend from Oklahoma recently told me about it and challenged me, since I live in Utah, to go visit and photograph it. I decided that today was the day to go see it. So I packed all my camera gear and drone for aerials shots, and made the 140 mile journey to the jetty.

The first 100 miles were on interstate highway. The last 40 would be a journey through the “boonies” of northern Utah. All that I could see on the drive was mountains, snow, animals and more snow. Did I mention snow?

As I was getting closer to the jetty, I was getting excited about seeing it.

However, at about mile 131, I ran into a roadblock. Or should I say no road at all.

When my GPS was telling me it was time to turn right, I was driving up to the sign you see here in the photo. I was excited for just a very brief moment when I saw that the sign said I only had 9 miles to go. But, I quickly realized there was a BIG PROBLEM.

There was no road on which to turn.

I had driven all this way only to be foiled by mother nature and a very snow-heavy winter. The dirt road that makes the final 9-mile leg of the drive to the jetty, is not maintained. When I stepped off to the side of the road, I sunk into the snow up to my waist.

There would be no “free-styling” or creating my own path in this deep snow.

As the same time I was out of my car standing by the sign and looking incredulously at the lack of a road, a couple drove up to the sign and were just as surprised and disappointed as was I upon discovering circumstance. They were grumbly and complaining.

It was at this moment that I made the decision that this journey was not going to be in vain. So I greeted them, laughed about it with them, and made the decision that I was going to still take pictures today, even if there weren’t of the jetty.

So I turned my car around on the snow-packed road and began driving back. As I did so, I paid particular attention to all of the beautiful scenery that I had missed on the way there because I was so focused on getting to the destination.

I was able to see wild animals, a couple hunting on the side of the road, the Golden Spike monument where the easterly and westerly railroad met, and I found an amazing mineral stream that had beautiful rich colors.

So on the drive home, I took my time and I stopped several times to makes some beautiful pictures. It is even possible that these pictures could have been better than what I would have been able to make at the jetty.

And while I was not able to complete my original goal for the day, I was able to make it a great journey. I also have something to look forward to. When the snow melts, I will make the journey again and be able to finally see and photograph the jetty.

While this is a light-hearted example, it does remind us that we do not have to let failure reign. We can look it straight in the eyes, chuckle, and then make new decisions that can positively impact our situations.

Winston Churchill said, “Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.”