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Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Successes and Failures

le James Caird près de la Géorgie du sudImage via Wikipedia I have discovered that I might very well define success and failure differently from others.

I set major goals for myself and a lot of minor goals that lead up to the major one. I always allow for flexibility because sometimes life has other plans for us. ;-)

To me, every time I accomplish a goal, even a minor one, it is a success. To me, every time I adapt quickly and well to one of life's curve balls it is a success. To me, every time I take another step forward in progress, learning, or growth it is a success.

I don't view 'failures' as 'failures'. I have learned that from these challenges and setbacks can come some of our greatest successes. In looking back through history, we can see that there were many 'setbacks' before there were 'successes' in inventions, for example. In fact, some inventions came about by accident - the inventor was trying to make something else - so technically that could be classed as a 'failure' since they didn't create what they were aiming for. However, they made something wonderful - so how could that be anything other than a 'success'?

I have learned to view my life as a journey. Every time I have a 'success' it is like coming upon a sign along the way that reads, "You're on the right path - keep going!", and every time I have a 'setback' it is like coming upon a sign that reads, "Wrong way - please take another path" or "Ooops! You're trying to run before you can walk. Please practice walking some more and then come back this way again."

I wasn't always like this. My dysfunctional upbringing taught me to set myself up for 'failure' and to look at 'failure' as end-of-the-world-shameful-humiliation'. I now shake my head in wonder that I ever bought into such nonsense.

Mistakes and setbacks are part of the human condition and part of the life experience. As we learn to put them into their proper perspective, it becomes easier to learn to love and accept ourselves - and others.

Life is a lot sweeter when you set yourself up to succeed.

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