Understanding Failure

Well, holy smokes.  I feel like a huge plug has been pulled from my invisible creative-and-happiness drain that has been clogged up for the last year.  I don't even know what to attribute it to: listening to a palm reader I met on a sidewalk on Royal Street in New Orleans?  Letting go of something to someone I know can do it a million times better?  Finding new creative outlets (writing) to get out what wasn't meant to come out some other way?  Being grateful and honest for every challenge and success in my life? 

Honestly? I don't know.

Whatever it is and why-ever it's happening, I am so grateful.  There's such release in accepting your failures and trying again:

Failure isn’t diving on your face, or hitting rock bottom. That’s just being human. You only fail when you decide to not try again. So it’s entirely in your control. Once you understand failure, it’s impossible to fail.
— Some guy from Humans of New York
Live Your Life (2012)

Live Your Life (2012)

You only fail when you decide not to try again.

That's really what it comes down to.  Trying.  Again, and again.  Be it losing those last 10 pounds, quitting smoking (I'm a professional fail-er at this) or reaching some dream achievement you set you sights on.  You only fail when you decide not to try again.  It's easy to blame the world, your circumstances, everything and anyone - everything but yourself and your own decisions.  Failure can only be created by your choices. 

Everything isn't black and white, there's a million universes full of greys in between "this" and "that" - and the same goes for that area between success (whatever that is) and failure.  For the record, I define success as whatever makes your soul smile.  Choosing not to try again at something is choosing failure, and choosing to ignore something that satisfies your soul.  Add all that up, and it certainly sounds like failure to me.

Quit Wasting Your Time

If there is ONE thing I have learned over the last few years it's this cliché: life is too short.  Well, if it's a cliché, it's because it's true.  Quit wasting your time starving your soul of the things that make it shine.  Every self-doubt and choice to not try or to try again - you are wasting precious and irreplaceable time that you will never, ever get back again.  The irony there is though that time is gone forever - it will haunt you forever, too, one day.  Everything you did not try again at will never go away.  Every wasted moment.  Every choice to not try again.  Every opportunity to forgive.  When you run out of time to choose - all those wasted opportunities will come back and remind you.

Failure Isn't Falling On Your Face, Or Hitting Rock Bottom

"You only fail when you decide not to try again".  Like every time you fell off your bike learning to ride, every time you stripped the gears learning to drive manual and every flubbed up first kiss - trying again, you got better.  Trying again, you gained confidence.  Trying again, you forgot about that failure, and you were flying down the road on your bike with the wind in your hair, and every scrape and scratch and bruise forgotten.  You needed to falter while learning, you needed to make mistakes and wrong judgements - without them there was no lesson. 

I really think I've come to understand failure this week, and it has only been through being okay with it - that I'm no longer afraid of it.