If we don’t achieve what we want, that means we failed, right? Wrong. That’s only true if we believe in failure. I personally don’t.
Hear me out, but first think about this: “You’re a failure!” is one of the meanest judgments we can pronounce. Most of us are much too kind to say that to someone else, but we’ll say it to ourselves. Why? And why aren’t we overjoyed to hear that maybe we’ve been wrong all this time, that failure actually doesn’t exist?
Maybe it’s because we’re used to holding onto failure as the ultimate consolation booby prize. We do that because somewhere deep inside we believe we really can’t have and do and be what we want. That dismal belief comes from the same root that causes us to value pain, struggle, hardship, lack, need, impossibility, insurmountable barriers, striving, denial, endless back-breaking, soul-killing, fruitless labor, powerlessness, unrequited sacrifice, and pointless self-martyr-hood. That root belief is a noxious weed. Let’s pull it out.
I don’t believe in failure because I don’t buy that it’s a state of fact we have to accept. Instead, I think it’s a judgment – a state of mind that’s optional, something we don’t have to believe it we don’t want to. We create the “fact” of failure by pronouncing the judgment of failure. If we refuse to make that judgment, then failure doesn’t exist. The thing we used to call failure is now just an accepted part of the creative process.
Learning to think that way is a mental garden we need to cultivate. We start by planting the seed of the possibility that failure, however perversely satisfying to the fearful voice of status quo, may not in fact be as good or desirable as success, for the same reason that struggle may not be as good as ease, deprivation may not be as good as plenty, isolation may not be as good as connection, and remaining dull may not be as good as being awake.
If I can never fail, then I’ll never be a failure. What a relief! Instead, I can be one of those creative people who always seems to think the triumphant finale is just one more plot twist away, so they keep going just to find out.
Where’s the failure in that? It’s all in our heads, that’s where.
[to be continued]