October 18     

Today's quotation:

Life's lessons come through failures probably more than successes.  Through our failures we learn humility.  We learn to look to others for help and guidance.  We learn how to let others fail, too.  We fail because we are human.  When we no longer fear failure, we are free to attempt greater feats.  We dare to learn more, and life is fuller for it-- not just our own lives, but the lives that we touch.


Today's Meditation:

I have a lot of failures to look back on in my life.  Relationships, plans, efforts, work-- there's a whole array of things that have gone wrong when I've tried to do things that I just couldn't do.  But there's also been a tremendous amount of learning that has taken place as a result of those failures, so I have no regret for them at all.  I know that I honestly have tried my best-- often with limited knowledge and experience-- so a failure isn't a waste of my time or effort.

I don't fear failure any more.  I do my best to avoid it when I can, but I know that sometime in the future, I will fail again.  And again.  And that's okay, as long as I put my best effort into what I do and do my best to make things work out.  One of the cool things that I've learned is that very often, what looks like failure is actually a huge success-- just because something doesn't turn out the way that I thought it should doesn't mean that something very positive doesn't come out of it.

Allowing ourselves and others to fail is perhaps one of the most important abilities that we have in our lives.  It frees us from the unrealistic expectations of perfectionism, and it keeps us from judging harshly when something doesn't turn out as one hopes it will.  Some of my best students have developed after failing a paper or a test-- suddenly they've realized that they do need to study, or to spend more time on their papers, if they want to succeed in a particular class by learning the material that they're expected to learn.  The failure is a catalyst to much better things, and turns out to be a very positive part of their educational experiences.

We can't avoid failure, so it would be a good idea to allow it in our lives, accept it for what it is, and learn what we can from it instead of fighting it so strongly.  Yes, we should do our best to avoid it when we have something planned, but if we keep in mind the fact that failures will happen, we can accept them gracefully and use them to help us to better our lives, our careers, our relationships, and anything else that's important to us.

Questions to consider:

Why do so many people seem to have problems accepting failure?

How many people have you known who never fail at anything?

Is the main problem with failure the failure itself, or how others react to it?  Or how we perceive others reacting to it?

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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