Tuesday, Sept. 21, 2004
Failure IS An Option
I gave this advice to a young woman on the occasion of her birthday, but I thought it bore repeating here. It is a reminder to everyone else, and a neon sign to remind me, too.
I was a straight-A student who won state awards, and my family STILL pounded into me how worthless I was. It wasn't true, but it illustrates how destructive families can be. Families... The very people who are supposed to nurture us.
Sometimes you don't find your niche in high school, or your talent doesn't really bloom until later in life. Or maybe you're one of those extraordinary people who may not excel in any one area, but whose cumulative abilities and talents work together for a flawlessly-balanced whole (in which case I most definitely envy you!)
Do NOT let the negativity destroy your soul. Don't give naysayers the credence of even listening to them. Give yourself this gift and take back your life. From today forward, make this YOUR life. A life of recognizing that you simply aren't done yet; that you haven't even scratched the surface of who you can and will be.
Write down the things that you want to become; not only in terms of career, but of personality. Then focus on becoming those things, no matter what anyone says. And remember, you probably won't achieve all of them, but that doesn't mean you're imperfect. It just means you're weeding out the wrong things and gradually focusing on the RIGHT ones. Some people never realize that's what failure really is. They let failure destroy them, without realizing what a terrific tool it can be.
Sometimes it's hard, but never, ever forget that you will NOT fail at everything, only the things that are wrong for you. When it's right, failure will become a distant memory.
The only people who never fail are those who never try. We recall the people who succeed, but we rarely (if ever) know how many failures they endured before achieving their success.
Something tells me that Mdme. Curie didn't achieve everything in the space of an hour, and that she didn't discover principles of radiation without countless time spent in frustration. We do know that Albert Einstein flunked algebra in school, and that he didn't speak until the age of three. Cartoonist Charles Schultz wasn't a stellar scholar, either. Funny what failures they were in life, isn't it?
We as a people spend so much of our time focusing on our failures, without stopping to think of all the ways that we succeed every single day. Here in the Western Hemisphere, we take for granted that we can go to a restaurant and pick up fast food. We may complain because we have to settle for McDonald's when we'd rather have Black Angus, but we eat. How many people in third-world countries would be boggled at the thought of walking casually into a restaurant and ordering enough food to eat their fill?
I've got to get back to work today. I have a job and a roof over my head. No, I don't have a car or a sofa, but I am not going to starve, nor am I likely to become a victim of a drive-by shooting. Things may not be perfect where I live, but when you stop and look at the bigger picture, it is worthwhile to change your measure of success.
And don't forget to appreciate your failures, too.
Before - After
In the grander scheme of things, no soul can truly be replaced. Each one of us has a place in the universal tapestry. We each contribute our own color and texture. When one thread is snipped too soon, it distorts all the threads around it. Other lives can unravel and tear. If the wrong thread is ripped away, the whole fabric of life becomes dangerously fragile.
- LeiLani, aka Radiogurl aka Bright Opal (1957 - )