I want to talk (write?) today about failure. I grew up in a culture where failing at something was viewed as a negative thing. Failing a test in school meant that you weren’t smart enough, failing to get a date with the pretty girl or popular boy meant that you weren’t cool enough, and failure to run the marathon you signed up for meant that you weren’t strong enough. I don’t think everyone thought this way, but for some reason or another, this is what I believed for many years.
Y’all, FORGET THIS.
Failure is a beautiful thing! Failure is amazing. Failure means you are trying. And THAT, my friends, should be celebrated. If you are failing at things, if means you are showing up and trying. At the end of your life, do you want to go out knowing that you went for it 100%, regardless of whether or not you were successful? Or will you be happy knowing that you “played it safe”?
Accepting that failure should be celebrated was a huge part of my own personal growth journey. I have failed so many times that during my dark and difficult year of twenty-nine I began to think that I, as a person, was a failure…
But I’m not! I’m amazing and bold and unique. Failing at attaining a college degree at age twenty-two when all of my friends were doing it just meant that I saw a life that made me unhappy and I choose to try something new and unknown. Failure to want to stay in a relationship when all around me I saw people my age choosing marriage, meant that I choose to walk further down a path of self-expression and fierce independence. Failure to show the first draft of my first book to ANYONE, means that I get to try again and be bolder this time.
People fail. SUCCESSFUL people fail. When someone thinks outside of the(ir) box and tries something they might not be good at, something that is unknown to them, possibly unknown to everyone, they are utilizing their innovation and creativity. And what is this human life for if not experimenting and playing with what is possible?
What we need right now are innovators and creators, people attempting the new and the different and the unknown. If failing means you are out there, doing it, trying it, participating, well then that, my friends, is courageous and I thank you.
Every few years a video circulates on Facebook highlighting the many ways in which the world’s famous philosophers, politicians, artists, humanitarians, and scientists failed before they achieved the thing they are now known for (which often happened late in life). This is so awesome! This is so, so awesome. These people were told time and time again they weren’t good enough, that their ideas were terrible, and that they would never succeed but they kept going. They didn’t listen, they kept trying, and eventually they struck gold.
So, my lovely friends, please keep trying. Please be bold and celebrate your failures instead of letting them weigh you down. Let’s do it together. Get up, dust yourself off, and begin again knowing that you have gained a little bit more experience and are a little bit stronger for trying. If you need to write this down on notecards and put them all around your house like I did, then go for it. Change the way you think and you will change the world you live in.