Failure is not falling down but refusing to get back up!
I recently received a message from a friend and the message read fine until the bottom of the last paragraph where it read, “I feel like a failure”.
These words ran through my mind and I wondered for a long time why they would feel like this? What would be the reason for not being able to see all the amazing things they are doing and the amazing achievements they have made? Why would we as humans, “feel” like failures when we are an amazing success at just being here, alive!
It’s only a Thought!
My conclusion: failure does not exist, and neither does success! These two things are “feelings” we as humans have and possess inside our minds and we allow them to motivate or demotivate us!
Of course we measure our successes by the trophies we gain and we measure our failures by the bruises we sport, but these are only on the outside. What we “feel” inside is very very different.
A sports person enters a race and choosing to compete against other athletes. They crouch at the start line, they get ready for the whistle and they are off. They run as fast as they can and win the race, beating all other athletes and creating a new record time. To us we would say they were a success at that race. If they could do that in other races too, they would be successful.
Likewise, a Formula 1 driver gets in his car, and drives the best race he can, yet comes second on the day, and the following races he has, he also makes second place, we would say he was not as successful as the person who won the race!
In both situations there is one key fundamental idea that is being played out in both mindsets – Am I better or worse than those around me? From that, a person can then deduce whether they are a success or a failure.
Yet, we live in a world where we are all successes. Some manage to raise families and bring children into the world, quietly and patiently learning as they go. Others, sit behind books and study their way to being better at what they currently know, while others, work silently at night, when the darkness surrounds them, writing to achieve their next published book.
They are not measuring themselves against other people. Why should they! They are doing what they want to and achieving what they want. They are not always in a comfortable place either, and they are not out all night with their friends. They are just getting on and being who they want to be AND want to become!
When I think of failure, I can only say that I am a failure if I did not try to get up from a set back. I am a failure when I refused to try to make something work that I really wanted to work. I am a failure only to myself for not remembering all the amazing achievements I have done.
Achieving a job, improving another person’s life, or getting the next post in a career that makes you feel happier and more alive in the world – these are your successes! Wear them with pride.
The feeling of failure will drain the life out of anyone who choses to wear that coat. The feeling must be coming from a thought, but I would guess the thought originates from one place – That we are comparing ourselves to others and accepted believing we had to race against them to “feel” successful!
This was the biggest lie we have been told!
I am not immune to feeling like a failure, of course not. I wish I could help more people, or that I could see and experience more of the world, or that I would focus my time more appropriately to achieve more, but in not trying to achieve these things, in accepting that this is the way it is, is failure. To be successful, to be my happy self, I need to keep doing the things I can to help others, see more of the world and find better ways of working.
What’s Your Goal?
This life is not about an end goal! A final destination! It is an exciting journey of experiences that lead us through many different areas of life and through many different adventures. To be a part of that journey is the greatest success of all, one in which I take great pride in. That I can experience what life has and continue on my journey through it.
If you measure success in terms of material wealth, you will always be unsuccessful. There will be something more shiny and expensive to own, something someone else has, and something bigger than you have. This is not a measure of success, merely an indication that you are achieving certain goals.
If you measure success in terms of general knowledge, you will always be unsuccessful as there will be someone who knows something more than you or that what you know, no longer measures up to a standard. All it shows is that you know stuff.
If you measure success by the experiences you have in comparison to someone else’s experiences, you too will be unsuccessful. You will “feel” like a failure! Someone else will always be able to do something different, something you want to do or something you are trying to do “better” than you.
The lesson we all need to learn is that the experiences we have are unique to us. No one else can have what we have. Only I can understand the feeling I possess when I stand on a shore with my toes in the sand and look out to sea, hearing the sounds of the water and the birds and feel the breeze on my face. No one else can have my exact feeling or even know why I am there at that moment or what thoughts are in my mind.
If I look at pictures of others standing on beach shores looking at the sea and “feel” sad that I cannot be there, it is me that is comparing the situation. That can only lead to me feeling like a failure because I don’t have a beach hut on the shore line and I cannot experience that feeling every day. In reality though, I have the thoughts and experiences inside me, I can take pleasure in seeing others experience the world around me and wonder if they feel the excitement and wonder of this world too.
The lesson, even I am unlearning, to not compare ourselves against others, is one we all need to work at. The only person who matters is you first and foremost. Once you are striving for things you want to do, those that matter to you, who are around you, will be encouraged too. They will take strength from you and they will be uplifted by your silent, quiet achievements that you set yourself!
The best athlete is the one who competes with themselves, because they always want to improve on what they know. The best student is always the one who hungers to learn more for themselves, not to be the top of the class.
Do not “feel” like a failure today! You are the best person you can be right now, and you have the whole world and what time you have left to be even more positive in the future! Don’t settle for mediocre, try a new sport, improve your knowledge on climate change, look at what you have achieved and what you could still achieve.
Act Anyway, and measure yourself against the Chinese proverb at the top of this post!