Failure= Lack of Success
Success = Accomplishment of aim or purpose
Standard definitions offered up from Google.
Ulysses S. Grant was the Civil War general whose strategies produced Northern Victory. He then served as the 18th U.S. President.
“For much of his life, Ulysses S. Grant failed at every occupation he tried. But in the United States Army, his remarkable talents as a soldier and leader saved his country from falling apart.” (American Experience Online-PBS.ORG)
To aid self assessment objectivity, we’ll define this important U.S. historical figure in terms of personal failure:
- Never became a Math Teacher as he desired.
- Raised to rank of Corporal at West Point, “it was too much for me” he wrote. Demoted and graduated at the lowest possible military rank-Private.
- Failed to bring his family to live with him when he was stationed in the Oregon Territory because his business ventures failed.
- After resignation, failed as Farmer.
- Failed as a real estate partner.
- Rejected when he tried to re-enlist when Civil War started. (someone intervened and gave him a military appointment)
- Caused excessive casualties at Shiloh battle, due to lack of preparation.
- Weakened the American Presidency.
- Politically inept and ineffective, leading to several government scandals.
- After presidency, failed as financial firm partner.
- Declared Bankruptcy and had to live off of personal loans.
- Never overcame accusations that he was an alcoholic.
Even in his success in the Civil War, he still messed up at Shiloh, costing soldier’s their lives. Grant began writing his memoirs as a way to support his family-then was diagnosed with cancer.
General Legacy, other then the Civil War Battle Victories:
- Retained honesty and integrity
- Fought for African American Rights
- Victorious Civil War General
- Completed his memoirs right before he died
Four items on the personal success list.
Twelve – 12, items on the personal failures list.
Well, to me, the lists demonstrate SUCCESS.
The Success of “perseverance”.
The Success of “courage”.
Perseverance takes courage.
What inspired me, was when he wrote “it was too much for me”, as a West Point student with rank, to explain his demotion. To graduate as the most non prestigious rank ever. It doesn’t appear he viewed it as FAILING. Doesn’t failure imply giving up on that aim? His first “job” out of the gate, he failed at.
No matter how much he sucked in business,he kept trying. To the end of his life he chose to seize opportunities. Mark Twain approached him about writing, and Grant didn’t sway from his goal even when he was diagnosed with cancer.
How do you view Grant using the juxtaposition of so-called failures and successes?
Journal prompt pages or the Journal prompt list, can be downloaded at the end of post.
Below is a link to “PERSONAL MEMOIRS OF ULYSSES S. GRANT” the free e–book
I did a research Paper on Grant in college and brushed up for this post.