failure

Despite what many parents, teachers, and mentors say about failure being a prerequisite for learning, failure is still something we avoid. We avoid it because it sucks and it hurts.

At the same time we have this culture - comprised of parents, teachers, and mentors (among others) - that speaks about success in glowing terms, as if success were some desired destination after which life somehow ceases to create confusion or discord.

In my experience success and failure ultimately produce the same feelings, with the difference between the two being success initially feels better. Eventually life finds a way to produce challenges in either scenario, your ideas fall out of fashion, and you have to retool, rebuild, or quit your particular endeavor.

And yet people still pursue success and avoid failure, as if they weren't essentially the same thing. They are both the consequence of a number of factors, 1% of which are under your control and the rest being the result of luck and circumstance. Luck being defined is not simply pure chance,  but including having a certain type of mind, being born into certain families or communities, etc. Luck as a combination of inherited and learned traits, much of which is not up to the specific individual to determine.

So what does this all mean? It means we have to be easier on ourselves, whether we are failing or succeeding. It also means we need to combine what makes us lucky with what makes other people lucky in order to truly be successful. Look again at the cartoon above: we are all the little failures that together might make something amazing.

Chris