Reconsidering Failure – Part 1

There is a time in life that does not come around very often, when the decision to let some things go is hard.  Letting some activities go are considered by some as a failure…and really, what is wrong with that?  If we do not eliminate some things in our life that do not have purpose, our lives become cluttered and purposeless because we are not making adequate use of our resources.  It all becomes a jumbled mess.

 

So how do you decide what stays and what to boot?  Many things that get voted out may actually be a desire that goes very deep but where is the purpose?  Some projects or passions are those that you want to rekindle or feel guilty about not learning them in your past, but are they a catalyst for your purpose or just something to complete to check off of the bucket list?

 

Many things in life that we have failed at, we try to go back and start again because we have issues with failure.  We cannot allow ourselves to fail for some reason.  Here is an example of something that I am eliminating:

 

For many years, I have wanted to learn how to program, learn HTML, maybe even build an app.  When I started college (again) about 6 years ago, it was my major.  I struggled with it, learned a little at a time, completed a couple of courses and actually got 4 different IT certifications.  I built a website, learned how to manipulate it a little and then, after a couple of years of inactivity, I started to brush up on what I had forgotten.  I just recently completed my degree in a completely different field of study than computer science and still I feel a sense of failure that I did not get my degree in programming.

 

As of a couple of weekends ago, after long bouts of inner struggle, I have decided to abandon further education on programming.  Why?  Because of many reasons:

  1. There are many people in my life who can do it faster (and cheaper) than I could do it myself.
  2. It is not my passion, although my passions are not quite refined yet for this time in my life. It is only an interest.  I can marvel at other people doing programming well.
  3. I see that I am just not “wired upstairs” to learn this material at an efficient speed. I can be satisfied with having SOME of the knowledge and be happy that I am not totally ignorant of the programming process.
  4. I feel that it is taking away from the passions I have, rather than contributing to them.

So back to the question:  Why is there still a sense of failure inside rather than just realignment?

Failure.

It is a word that has developed a reputation from school, business and life.

“You got an F.  You failed that class”

“The business failed.  It had to be shut down”

“His heart failed and he passed away”

When looking at the meaning of “failure”, the reputation follows it but is not the actual definition.

  1. lack of success
  2. when someone does not do something
  3. someone/something not successful
  4. when something no longer works
  5. loss of quality/ability

Ummm…if you look at this list, you can probably fit each of those descriptions into events that happen in one work day.  So what is the problem with failure?  Putting things in a process, we can see that it is the reaction following that makes the resulting stigma.  When you had a lack of success one day at work, did you quit your job?  What about when you didn’t do something?  Something wasn’t successful?  When something didn’t work?  When you had a loss of quality or ability?  Did you just quit altogether?

The reaction is where the effect is either limited or exaggerated.  This is a key factor because it relates to so much in our lives.

Part 2 is developing…

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Attack mode

What makes you feel capable of doing the things you set out to do?  Or do you just do it whether you feel capable or not?  Many times, when your back is up against the wall, like a wild animal outnumbered by its aggressors, you attack a need.  But is that what it takes to get you to act?  And once you do, do you feel that it was not done well efficiently?

Wouldn’t it work better if you acted, made mistakes, corrected them in a timely manner and continued until you got finished?  “Attacking” the issue with a calculated fervor before it has progressed to the point of expediency?

The problem can be procrastination,…fear, …laziness, …you name it.  It is something that is engrained in you and your psyche.  To get past it, you need to fight the urge to “not do it”.  Like quitting smoking or eating junk or drinking, it is an urge that is just as destructive.  If you don’t do it, you are putting yourself at the risk of going into attack mode to get it done.

This is part of posterity thinking, you know.  Remeber the chess game?  What happens in a chess game when one player  decides to wait, stall or just not move?  Well, if it is a timed game, that player loses.  But if it is not, the game stands still…the other player is at the mercy of the first…who is in control.

Do you see the issue?

More to come…

Guarded

There is an amazing little story, probably a legend, that I read the other day about a guard post in England.  The guard post was set up next to the castle walls and had one guard posted there, kn shifts, 24 hours a day.  The post was not near a gate, door or any sort of entry, but just a guard along a stretch of sidewalk along the fence.  When a tourist asked the sentry what was being guarded, he answered, “I do not know. This post has been here for over 100 years and it is commanded that a sentry is placed here  at all times”.

Sentry

The tourist, amused, decided to find out what the reason for the sentry was.  After asking around for a few days, the answer was revealed.  Over 100 years ago, the Queen of England (at that time), planted roses at that very spot because she felt the walls were too uninviting. She hoped that the climbing roses would cover the walls and fill the air with its sweet scent.  It was commissioned that a sentry be posted there to guard the roses so that they could grow unhindered.  That Queen had since died and so did the roses, but the sentry post had been there ever since, guarding what looked now to be a regular grass-covered plot of ground.

There are things in your life that you hold on to.  Things that you have started and not finished.  Things that are gifts but not a way to make a living.   Things that are guarded but are no longer there.  These can be physical, mental…even spiritual.

They can be things that were started by someone 100 years ago or yesterday but all they do is take up space, time and money;  resources that you have longed to have more of.  It is necessary in life, just as when you re-evaluate a budget that you look at life’s budget and remove the items that are robbing you and your family.  Seek out the sentries that are being wasted and guide them to the places they are needed.

Passion

What are you passionate about?  Is it a person, place or idea?  Is it something that you have genuine interest in or were you drawn into it?  Has it grown, morphed or totally changed as you have explored it more?

 

Sometimes finding one’s passion ends up with just a raw idea or interest that they have always been drawn to.  It is a seed that when planted, needs more than just dirt to cover it up.  Because with just dirt, that is where it will stay:  just covered up.

 

The dirt can be the most fertile dirt around but without other elements, a seed will eventually wither and become a part of its surroundings:  just more dirt to cover another seed.

seedling

As adding water causes a seed to emerge from this dirt, feeding your passion causes it to be exposed to the elements.  These elements can be harsh but the water nourishes, just as learning more about your passion feeds your soul.  But with just water, the feeding just nourishes to a point and then the seed drowns in its own nourishment.

 

The sun causes exponential growth, making the seed spring from the earth with unbridled power.  It can cause an early look of maturity and excellence.  But by itself, will eventually cause the seedling to wither away and become…just more dirt to cover another seed.

 

Find that passion

Surround it with a fertile environment

Nourish it by feeding it with knowledge

Be bold and let the world know what is inside of you

 

You were entrusted with it

Passion

A Different Power

Have you ever been driving down the road, having an OK to great day, cruising at a safe speed, listening to the radio…and then, out of the corner of your eye, you get this:

Hey...Pay attention to the road!!!
Hey…Pay attention to the road!!!

What is the first thing out of your mouth? “What?!?” “Idiot!!!” “Where does he get the right to…!!” Maybe worse.
Well, congratulations! Your mind has just been controlled. You went from mellow to blood pressure issues in a few seconds and it was your choice. Yes, it was your choice to be controlled and you chose to allow your emotions to go in that direction.
Now, we can think about what you could have done. Something a little more “controlled”. Just like we talked about a couple of days ago, certain things make the “true you” come out.
Examine this power. Not the power that you gave to that guy who pulled up next to you and yelled, but the power in you. It is you who has the power here.
The power is forgiveness and the way you read about it here, may not be what you are expecting.
When exploring your own heart, digging around for nuggets, soul-searching…what are you finding? Are you finding things that make you sad, angry, beaten? Forgiveness is a power that you have…not only to forgive those who wronged you. You have the power to let go and forgive those who have inadvertently made your life take an unintended direction…and they actually did nothing against you. Maybe I need to rephrase that. You forgiving in this way is about straightening up your life, not theirs. It could have been anyone from your father to some guy on TV…It could even be God.
God needs no forgiveness from you for Himself…
but you may need to forgive Him…for you.

Back to that guy in the car (although we might need to meditate on some of the previous words for a while).
He does not need you to say “Oh, you poor soul. I forgive you”. Truth is, that guy could have been you and you probably would not be interested in forgiveness at that time. But you need the act of forgiveness coming out of you.
This is a gap that many fathers forget because they have not learned to deal with it themselves. This is a power that when wielded properly, can lay spiritual and physical enemies to waste quickly. One that empowers you.
A different power.

Discouragement

It is hard to face discouragement.  When faced with rejection, boredom or failure, your true nature actually shows itself.  Are you moving forward, seeking to move forward or discouraged because “things aren’t happening”?

Everyone loves success.  Things are riding high and emotions are up but what about when things are down.  How do you handle failure?  Do you get discouraged?

Think about this:  what would it take for you to switch your thinking around and respond with excitement every time you fail?

What happens when we fail?

Do we learn?

Think of Thomas Edison and the invention of the light bulb.  Thousands of failed experiments occurred until he hit it right.

 Why?  Because with every failure, he knew he was getting closer to the purpose he had set for himself to accomplish.  And yet sometimes, we have 1 or 2 failures and lose interest.

Why?  Re-examine your purpose and your commitment to it.  Either rededicate yourself to it with a renewed vengeance or redirect.

Your success depends on it.

Distractions

Sometimes we just don’t understand why things happen.  You work hard on your marriage, job, house and/or family, believing that you are doing well and then something happens that discourages you and takes you off your chosen path. You may wonder “Why? I was making progress.”  Personally, I get annoyed at the distraction because it usually seems like it’s only purpose is to distract.  If I am not careful, it can affect my focus for a long time.  So what is a guy to do?  Not deal with it and have it repeat itself so that it becomes insurmountable to deal with?  What would you like to see as the outcome?  Get creative here.  It is time to fill a gap and possibly set a habit that will serve you for the rest of your days.

Think to yourself, “If this had not happened, what would I be doing?”  You can look forward and see yourself talking about the event and laughing about it and the lessons learned.  But isn’t it true that distractions happen every day and it is really how we react to them that is important?

Sometimes, it is very simple.  It is so simple that the answer is right under our noses.

Focus.

Yes, I know that we realize that a distraction is taking away from our focus and that we need to refocus but let’s simplify.  Focus. Definition. It is both a noun and a verb.  Putting the two meanings together reads like this:

“Adapt to the prevailing level of light and become able to clearly see the center of interest or activity.”

Its almost like a command.  We understand the last part.  That is the goal.  It is the first part, the verb that we want.  “Adapt to the prevailing level”.

blindingLight

What would happen if your eyes never adapted to light when you walked out of a dark room?  Hands in front of face…eyes hurt.  You can’t see where you are going.  If you don’t watch what you are doing, you may bump into someone, fall and/or get hurt.  Soon you may get discouraged and sit down.  Then, finally, after you understand that your sight is not going to change, what do you do?  You retreat back to the dark room; go backwards to where you came from…and stay there because you did not adapt.

Realize that this stuff not only happens, it happens more than we think and will keep on.  Your GAP to fill is the realization of this and the maturation involved with being unwavering, steadfast and dependable.  There will be some distractions that are larger than others but you grow from them.  Decide to adapt and keep growing.