To Succeed In Life, You Need To Use Your Failures

From Pisa To Sienna To Assisi
By Bo Sanchez (from

From our hotel, the leaning tower of Pisa was a stone's throw away. It was utterly beautiful; I kept walking to it just to stare at it one more time.

As a child, I loved reading about the leaning tower of Pisa.

It was an odd monument. It was so unique, Leonardo da Vinci used it for his experiments on the law of gravity.

And there it was, right in front of me, in all its failed glory.

Because that’s what it was: A giant failure of the grandest proportion. This cathedral bell tower built 700 years ago began “sinking” on one side a few millimeters each year, causing it to lean. Efforts to repair the tower’s foundation were also dismal failures—the tower kept on leaning on its side.

Friends, I can imagine how many sleepless nights the leaning tower gave its builders, architects, designers, owners, contractors, and engineers down through the centuries. When you think about it, the tower was one failure after failure after another failure.

But precisely because of this failure, it has become a phenomenal success. Because of its oddity, for centuries now, millions of tourists have visited her—making Pisa a very prosperous city. If the tower didn’t “fail” and instead stood straight, it would just be one of the many bell towers in Italy—nothing special at all.

Lesson? I’m sure you have already failed many times in many areas of your life: Family failures, job failures, spiritual failures…

Friend, if you want to be a great success, don’t avoid failures. Instead, use them. When you’re able to use your failures, you bless the world with your unique gift.

As a child, I was sexually molested. As I grew up, I developed a sex addiction. I wish these tragedies never happened to me. But God has healed these wounds. And today, I’ve used these failures to bless the world. I allow my wounds to heal others who have also been abused. I preach about my experience, and written this part of my life in a book (entitled, Your Past Does Not Define Your Future) which is blessing thousands.

From Pisa, we visited Sienna and prayed with St. Catherine. And as we walked out of the city, that was when we failed miserably: We got lost! Imagine 70 people walking around aimlessly in the city.

We lost 3 hours of our day being lost.

After asking for directions and a couple of phone calls, we finally packed a public bus to where our tourist bus was parked.

Great failure, right?

Yes and No.

Because as I told you, my pilgrims are pilgrims, not tourists.

One of our pilgrims was a Mother Superior of the Poor Claires. She was visibly tired walking. But I heard her say with a huge smile, “I will not let this—or anything else—destroy my day.”

Wow. What spunk. What spirit.

Everyone in the group used the failure of getting lost to chisel the character of Jesus in their souls.

We rode our bus with great delight.

After two hours of driving, it was already dark when we entered the enchanting town of Assisi—one of my most favorite spots on planet earth.

I’ll tell you more about it next time.

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