Failure Hints at Success

In my last post, I wrote that I always feel like a failure. That’s because I have endless expectations for myself. It explains a lot – how I judge others is how I judge myself. The way that I’ve set these standards for others is how I set the standard for myself, as well.

As a goal-orientated person, I have an aptitude to get tasks done, as much as I can, but with quality and purpose. Daily goals, monthly goals, lifetime goals, friendship goals, budgeting goals – I have them all. Do I meet all of them? Yes and no. Some goals, I do meet, but most of the time, I find myself halfway there or just barely missing the mark.

I believe the truth is hard to accept but necessary. So getting halfway to a goal is not reaching the goal. Being one minute late to an appointment is still being late. Going over budget by $5 is still going over budget. Looking at a book that I’ve been meaning to read does not count as reading it. Thinking about calling someone is not the same as actually calling them – there are situations where the thought does not count or matter.

Going from Level 15 to Level 5, or even worse, Level 1, can rip motivation out of anyone. I could be having the best week: being on time for everything, eating healthy, going to the gym often, calling my mother, working towards my goals, and without a doubt, feeling like I’m progressing as a person and flourishing in my personal relationships – and then this joyous car ride comes to halt. I’m late to work. I lie to a friend. I stumble on my words. I don’t get the grade I was expecting. I give myself one too many cheat meals. My routine reconstructs itself quickly in a manner where I feel like I’m decaying rather than blooming. Regression is a dance I regrettably wish I did not know so well.

As I transition from being a college student to a young adult, I’ve taken note that success is never a perfect ladder that one climbs. Only in our imagination can we ever think that life is just a video game – going from one place to another and keeping the strength we’ve earned at all times while knowing that we are able to defeat any adversary that comes along our way. Success is a scrambled path. We may start off at this corner, advance 10 steps, go back 5, advance 3, and revert 3 steps back. It’s never a game of hopscotch where we can see the next step. A common occurrence is that our path changes route and we are left with no map or compass to tell us how to get to the next level. Sometimes, we go all the way back to Square 1.

But the light in this situation is that even though I’m no longer at Level 15, at least I know that I can get to that level. If I can get to Level 15 then I’m more than positive that I can get to Level 20 or Level 30. Failure hints at success because I’m always one step closer to succeeding after I’ve tried something rather than not trying at all. Ideas can stay in my head but what good does that do? Change starts when we take what we have in our mind and make it into something that we can see and touch.

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