Sometimes, I catch myself falling into the faulty thinking that when we find the things we are “meant” to do (who knows what that really means, anyway?), they come easily. When we find the person we’re “supposed” to be with, the dream job, our “purpose,” etc…we should just “know,” according to all the popular wisdom out there. That’s an easy mistake to make, given that we as a culture prize finishing things fastest and with seemingly no internal struggle.
Though many things for which we have an affinity will come more easily than for the general population, certainly the belief that it will always feel natural–or even possible–can be a recipe for quitting, disappointment, poor self-esteem, and many missed opportunities. With that thought in mind, I use the above quote to urge you (along with myself) this week: whatever you find difficult, do it more often. Give it one more good go…and then always be willing to give it another. If nothing else, if and when you feel defeated at the end of the day, go to bed that night and promise yourself, “I will try again tomorrow.” I choose to believe that that persistence will be rewarded, both in my own life and in yours.
As I’ve previously written, my fear of failure has caused me to avoid trying new or intimidating things at various points in my life; thus, this quote really struck a chord with me. Though I often was “the best” at many of the pursuits I did undertake, this quote gave me a new view on those triumphs. I often rose to the top through a mix of natural ability and dogged practice, but it frequently seemed as though winning did not take as much effort for me in comparison, and perhaps not nearly as much effort as it should have. In those instances when I played it safe and took the route most likely to lead to “success,” did I really succeed if I did not learn along my way to gathering trophies? What was really gained by avoiding the scary possibility of failure in favor of the safer guaranteed success? Indeed, I now wish that I had stepped outside my comfort zone more often.
As I continue along my quest of learning to fail–and fail gracefully–this quote gives me the confidence to view those learning experiences as valuable, worthwhile victories. Giving myself permission to fail, to learn from those failures, and to count the resultant learning as success simultaneously gives me permission not to be ashamed of those attempts. I am looking forward to stepping out of my comfort zone more often in order to lead a fuller life than I previously would allow.