Thursday, September 18, 2014

Go Ahead and Fail

Maybe that sounds a bit like a threat, or sarcastic…  But I promise it is not. 

I am the queen of failure.  Meaning, I have tried and not succeeded at more than I really would like to think about – or admit.

But the big question we all face is not whether or how often we fail, but how often we get up and try again.

Do we shrink back and be overwhelmed with feelings of failure and incompetence, or do we follow the path laid out by what Thomas Edison said as he worked to invent the light bulb?   

When faced with criticism over his failed inventions, his response was beyond resilient.

“I have not failed.  I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work”, said the man with over 1,000 patents.


And that’s what I am choosing to stay in agreement with. I am lucky that some combination of my genetics and my upbringing won’t let me give up.  For whatever reason, it is in my spirit to keep trying, to keep experimenting, and keep doing.

And I’m pretty sure you have it in you too, even if sometimes it does not feel like it.

Not so sure? Then let’s try a practical way you can start today.

Say you have a goal to get fit.  And you’ve heard me talk about the joys and benefits of running, so you think that is your way to get fit. So you run – and it stinks for you. But because this is your way to get to your goal you force yourself out there until you can’t stand it anymore.

Now what?  I guess you failed.  Not so fast! If we follow Edison’s quote, that’s just one way that does NOT work for you.

So you try videos at home. But that gets boring fast. And the mere idea of seeing the perky instructor in her tight shorts makes you cringe. That’s one more NOT for the list.

Your self directed workouts at the gym go the same route. Kind of boring and nothing to entice you down there. One more NOT for the list.

You’ve tried and failed. Are you closer to getting fit? It depends on how you look at it.

Now you are at least three steps closer to the solution.

And when you sign up for the class at the gym and it gives you the consistent time, consistent accountability, plus the social interaction that makes it fun: WOOHOO!  Success!

That’s just one example, but it illustrates the point. Every step forward – whether it’s a success or not – is a step forward. Running and then quitting was one step closer to the goal.

Like Edison, you were simply learning one of the ways that won’t work. They can apply to anything in your life: parenting, eating, even learning the banjo. The main point is not to give up.

This prolific inventor also is noted as saying “Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up”. 

Eventually, the light bulb went on. 

Enjoy the weather, the foliage and YOUR journey.  

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