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By:    On: 2012-06-14

Eagle courts of honor, by their very nature, celebrate success. But no one becomes an Eagle Scout without enduring a lot of failures first. When you present the Eagle charge during your next court of honor, consider using a text like the one here, which demonstrates how true success usually comes out of failure:

We are here tonight, of course, to celebrate a great success. Now it is my job to tell you how to turn that success into more successes throughout the rest of your life.

So how can you be successful? What’s the secret? It’s simple: be a failure.

That may seem like strange advice, but when you think about it, you’ve been failing ever since you became a Scout.

Do you remember the first time you tried to build a fire? You failed, didn’t you? And what about your first hike, the one that ended in sore muscles and blisters? You didn’t win the first time you ran for patrol leader, and when you did win, you made plenty of mistakes when you tried to lead your patrol.

You’re not the only who has failed. Thomas Edison discovered 1,800 ways not to make a light bulb before he invented one that worked. Babe Ruth struck out 1,330 times on his way to hitting a record-setting 714 home runs. Michael Jordan was cut from his high-school basketball team. Abraham Lincoln dropped out of school, lost two elections for the House of Representatives, and lost two elections for the Senate before becoming President.

But these men never let their failures get them down. Instead, they learned from their mistakes, improved themselves, and went on to enjoy great success.

So don’t be afraid to make mistakes; don’t be afraid to fail. Remember, if you’ve tried to do something and failed, you’re vastly better off than if you’d tried to do nothing and succeeded.

Let me leave you with the words of President Theodore Roosevelt, a strong supporter of Scouting in its earliest days: “It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”

Go forth and dare greatly! 


Republished with permission of Mark Ray at

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