Failing is a good thing. The best thing actually; and as you read this you are probably thinking, um, is she for real? The pursuit of perfection is one that we start quite young. A path that is often times paved into our psyche; go to school, graduate, go to college, graduate, get a job…dot, dot, dot. A series of “things” to check off a list. This concept of expectations can be, well exhausting and often times debilitating. Do we only move through life as a series of meeting expectations? And whose expectations? Are they others or ours? I need to talk about the concept of failure because it has been given a bad rap and I am all about the underdog! The word has a negative connotation to it and can be our biggest fear. Do you remember when you first learned of failure? Probably riding a bike or learning to play an instrument, or perhaps the elusive cartwheel.
In actuality we learn to fail in infancy. When infants start to navigate their world it is a domino effect of failures. Does anybody every scold a baby for failing? NO, we praise, “oh you got it baby, try again!. They have one thing nailed that we forget as adults; trying again. When you learned to ride a bike, and you fell, what did you do? I don’t know about you but I was hell bent on getting back on that thing and riding it. I remember such determination, such focus to just do it. To get on and NOT fall. Over and over and over and over again, until. Road beneath me (still one of the best feelings ever). Back then such a simple solution. I you couldn’t do something you just kept going. So what happened over time? Failures and more failures and they slowly take a toll on our developing brains as something negative. The “I can’t” and “there’s no way’s” start to settle in for the duration. And they make us do one thing; question our amazing ability as human beings to try.
Where would we be if genius Steven Jobs just stopped moving forward when fired from numerous technology jobs? Or if Dr. Seuss actually believed that his books “would never touch the lives of children with such nonsense”. The list goes on, we all have our favorite stories of success. To truly embrace life is to embrace our failures. This is one of the secrets to living this beautifully flawed life! Own them; welcome them, for they are yours.
What would happen if in life we celebrated failures like accomplishments? Some of you may have seen the animated film “Meet the Robinson’s”, a wonderful story of a young boy who discovers who he is through his adoptive family. This young boy is an inventor and is constantly working on new projects, there is a scene in the movie where his peanut butter and jelly shooter gets jammed and jelly and peanut butter fly everywhere, covering the entire family and the furniture. The family rejoices and says “Your first failure, WOOO-HOO, congratulations”. They celebrate it. After some initial shock Lewis, the young boy, feels elated, encouraged and has another go at it. One of the most beautiful lines in this film is “keep moving forward”. Some say this film is about Walt Disney himself. Can you imagine if after being told his imagination was ridiculous and “no child will relate to it”, if he stopped? No magic in the world, ponder that.
Failure is part of the process of life and as human beings we often forget this. However we will carry our failures around with us, causing pain, toxic thoughts and resentment. One cannot look at failure as a bad thing; it is simply part of the larger plan of life. I challenge you to embrace your failures, honor them and keep moving forward.
Learn, Love, Live with Coach Kenna
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