A few nights ago I got to thinking about failure and decided for some reason that I wanted to blog about it, and then I started rehearsing my blog post in my mind. It began to sound like some teenage high school speech for some popular kid running for Class President, as if I had anyone to impress here. Words like “promise” and “ability” came up. And that got me to thinking about how those speeches back then – for class officer or student council – weren’t very different from politicians these days. They tell us what we want to hear. The rich and popular usually win. Their speeches are filled with empty promises. And they are running for a position that really gives them no power whatsoever over the class of people they are hoping to govern.
As for failure, I hate it when people say “Failure isn’t an option.” What happens if you fail at something anyway after you say that? Sure, failure probably isn’t the option we would have chosen unless you just chose to give up or not finish something. But those are just words to try to motivate someone not to fail. To give it their best. Those words come up in speeches to athletes. They are pretty useless in everyday life, I think. Sure, a coach tells his team that failure isn’t an option in order to encourage them to play hard. But if they don’t win, that doesn’t mean they failed at playing a good game. But no one sees it that way.
No one cheers for failure. And if they do, they are cheering for someone just because they participated. “Everyone is a winner today,” they might say, to somehow make
failing losing not seem so bad.
I’ve failed at a lot of things in life, too many to count. I still do. And it’s not always a task at hand. Maybe I failed to do the laundry one day or failed to work out as hard as I probably should have at the gym. Those are only the failures we beat ourselves up about, and we only call them failures for lack of a better word.
Failures in life that are bigger than that weigh on us because they steal from the quality of life we’d prefer to have. Getting the bills paid on time. Putting food on the table. Raising your kids right. Having a loving, steady relationship. Blunders, failures, are sure to creep in. Nobody’s perfect, right?
And when we are old enough to accumulate all the bad things in life that we failed at, we say we learned from them and have moved on. But we only learned from the mistakes after they happened. Had we really learned anything, we would have learned how to avoid them from the beginning, right? But we all know failure isn’t always avoidable. We can try, and if we do manage to successfully avoid it, that’s when we call it something else. It’s not failure because no one has failed, right? And if it’s not failure, how do we know we would have even failed at it?
Failure is what we call it when we did try, we did do, and we did not succeed. But had we not tried or did, we’d never know the outcome. And that’s life. Or is it? I think if we always knew the outcome, more people would succeed because less people would be afraid of failing. But that’s never going to happen.
I’ve wondered way off course here. So much that I’m not even sure what my true intention was. Oh well… blog post fail?