Tuesday, June 23, 2009

I Hope You Fail

Not a phrase you hear every day, but I mean it.

Our lives are focused around "success"...in fact, most of the people I know are obsessed with it, often to the extent that they sacrifice everything else just to achieve it. many of us strive for that success, and cannot even define what it is - so we can never know if/when we reach it.

We are under constant pressure to hit our targets, to make our numbers, to exceed expectations at work, at home, even at play (golf scores, etc). Everything in our lives is measured, and we are taught to feel inadequate if we are not in the top percentile. Children are made to believe they are not worth their parents love if they do not get the best grades, score the most goals, and get into the top schools. We are compared to one another in everything.

The result is that many of us have our priorities mixed up. We need to fail to really succeed.

In my life I have failed at so many of the things I have tried. Time and again I have failed.
I'm proud of it. Actually, proud of it. Let me explain.

Failing was a tremendous motivator. I felt that metaphorical cold slap across my face and worked much harder after every time it happened. I am proud of it, but failing is never fun.
It puts things in perspective and helps you find that next level deep inside. It helps you decide how bad you really want something, and how hard you are willing to fight for it when it matters.
The times it didn't, I just let go and moved on.

By failing, I taught myself that failure is not the end of the world. My life went on, many times even after I convinced myself it would not. My wife and kids still love me. My friends still respect me (as much as they ever did anyway). My co-workers still work with me (as much as they ever did anyway). All this despite the fact that I did not meet my expectations (or someone else's). LIFE WENT ON. And it will keep going on for you, too.

Failing showed me how lucky I really am that most of what really is important in life I already have - my lovely wife and my wonderful boys; my family and friends; my health and my mind (as much as I ever had anyway); my insatiable curiosity. The rest was never as important as society subconciously made me feel it was. The material things I wanted and couldn't afford I really don't need.

Failing also taught me that I have to always be reaching for something new, and to never be complacent. My greatest failures never came from new things I did - they came from failing to adapt to routines I had that were no longer suitable. I failed when I didn't pay attention to what was going on. I learned from this and try hard to remain vigilant to signs that I need to adjust my approach to things.

Failing is a part of what makes us human, and one of our greatest teachers.

I hope you fail...it will be good for you.

(thanks for the inspiration DP)

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