June 20


Today's Quotation:

Virtually nothing comes out right the first time.  Failures, repeated failures, are finger posts on the road to achievement.  The only time you don't want to fail is the last time you try something. . . .  one fails forward toward success.

Charles F. Kettering

Today's Meditation:

Wayne Dyer says that if you try something and it doesn't come out right, then you haven't failed-- you've just created an outcome.  Perhaps the outcome isn't exactly the one that you had hoped to create, but what of that?  It's not such a big deal, is it?  The fact is that our attempts that result in outcomes that we hadn't intended are some of the greatest learning experiences that we possibly can have.

I'm always uncomfortable with our ideas of "success" being to make exact copies of what other people do.  When I sing along with songs, I often throw in my own lyrics or sing their lyrics at different times than the singers do.  People I know have a hard time with this, and consider me to have "failed" because I wasn't singing along exactly-- they think I've forgotten the lyrics or something.

But some of our "failures" can lead to new discoveries that are our own achievements.  Perhaps your chocolate chip cookies aren't exactly like your mother's, but with some experimentation, they can become uniquely yours.  The danger with getting them right the first time would be that you stop experimenting because you already know how to do it "right."

We have to give ourselves a chance.  I grew up with a fear of failure because I always thought that people would judge me harshly if I failed at something.  If I did fail, I wouldn't ever admit it.  I'm over that now, and I know now that everything I do will go through several different variations before it comes out right.  That's why poems and novels and stories are revised-- they may be pretty good after the first draft, but that's just the core of the expression-- the art comes with the revision, with the second and third and fourth tries.

Questions to ponder:

1.  How do you see failure?  How do you define it?

2.  Do you know anyone who has a fear of failure?  How difficult is it for that person to move on in life?

3.  Why does our culture tend to define failure so arbitrarily and judge it so harshly?

For further thought:

Those who hope to avoid all failure and misfortune are trying to live in a fairyland; wise people realistically accept failures as a part of life and build philosophies to meet them and make the best of them.

Wilferd A. Peterson

more thoughts and ideas on failure



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