Good Sunday morning, everyone! Have you ever failed at anything? I’m guessing you said, “Well yes, who hasn’t?”

It’s human nature to hate to fail or lose at anything. Our society is all about winning and being the best.

But how did a winner get to be the best at what they do? By failing, of course, and learning from it.

Mistakes and failures are simply learning experiences. Some lessons can only be learned through failure. Rick Warren said, “If you’re not making any mistakes, you are not learning. If you are not taking any risks, you are not growing.”

Many famous people that we admire have failed, many times, before they made it big. Jim Carrey, one of the highest-grossing comedians/actors grew up in a family so poor that he had to drop out of high school at the age of 15 and get a job as a janitor to help support his family.

On his first comic stand-up, he was booed off the stage and his first audition on "Saturday Night Live" failed to land him a part.

Oprah Winfrey’s life started out rough as a daughter of a teenage mother. Her living conditions were bad, and she was sexually abused starting at the age of 9. Oprah had her own son at the age of 14, but he died shortly after birth.

As an adult, Oprah was hired on to a local television station in Tennessee only to be fired later by the producer because she was “unfit for television.” She never gave up.

Another person we can all relate to is Walt Disney, the man who brought us Mickey Mouse. He failed numerous times and in many ways. He was fired by the editor from his job at the Kansas City Star paper because he “lacked imagination and had no good ideas.”

His first go at business landed him in bankruptcy. Aren’t we glad he never gave up?

Failures can be quite a blow to someone’s ego, but it also lays the foundation for success. Failure has a way of softening our hearts and it helps us grow up. It makes us sensitive to others and less judgmental. Failure can make you bitter if you don’t respond to it correctly, too. When responded to correctly, it grows character.

If you have ever had a dream that has never come to fruition, why not give it a try? The worst you could do is fail and from just the three examples above, and there are so many more examples I could give you, look where that dream could take you.

Give. Advocate. Volunteer. LIve United.

Sherri M. Askren is president of United Way of Danville Area, Inc., 28 W. North St., Danville, IL 61832. Phone: 442-3512

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