November 13

Failure comes only when we
forget our ideals and objectives
and principles and begin to
wander away from the road
that leads to their realization.

Jawaharial Nehru


Today's Meditation:

These are words that could--or should--lead us to redefine "failure."  Failure is not necessarily a lack of success in doing things that other people think we should do.  Failure does not lie in not living up the expectations of others.  If those things happen, then it's simply a lack of success, and a great learning experience.  Failure, though, must be deeper if it's to earn the name.  Failure is when we stop being authentic, when we stop being true to ourselves and our values and our integrity.

What Jawaharial is saying is that as long as we stay true to our principles, then we cannot fail, no matter what may be the outcomes.  And as I consider this idea, I have to agree--a loss on the surface may be a victory inside if we've made decisions based on our ideals rather than on expediency of on the wishes of others.  I know that many people can't understand why I "settle" for the pay of a high school teacher when I could be making much, much more money teaching college, but I know in my heart that I'm doing what I'm called to do--I'm "losing" the chance to make more money, but it most certainly is not a failure in any sense of the word.

We must be true to ourselves--otherwise, what's the point of doing anything?  Of course, we don't have to stick always to the same way of thinking--as we grow and change, often our ideals and principles will change, too--and that's fine.  But if we look at failure realistically, then we'll see that we define failure ourselves, and what many would consider a failure most definitely isn't so, as long as we're being true to our authentic selves and our principles and ideals.

Questions to consider:

Why do others want us to feel that we've failed if we don't live up to their expectations?

Who defines "failure" in your life?  Do you allow them to do so?

How do you define "failure" yourself?  If you stick to your principles and ethical ideals, can you really fail?

For further thought:

There really is no such thing as failure.  There is only
the rearrangement of plans and surrender of ego.

Susan Falter-Barns

More on failure.


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