This the last of the inconclusive posts on failure. I think failure needs to be responded to with three things.
Acceptance, grief and moving on. In one sense this is a loss. It is not as severe as a death but it is possibly a series of little losses. A loss of self, possessions or friends are in some sense failures.
I too readily see failure but don’t fully accept it as though I should be immune to it. Therefore I don’t properly grieve. And I rarely move on. So I have all these failures playing in my head. Which takes a fuller toll on the self.
However someone did say, ‘have compassion on yourself.’ So maybe that’s the first step.
I think there are 3 primary ingredients for success. A certain amount of ability, a favourable environment and persistence. Persistence is probably the most important of them. Abilities can be gained through persistence and even hostile environments can be overcome with persistence.
But beyond heroic persistence there is that everyday persistence that gets things done. For me this is a mystery. Where does this come from? How do we keep at something for ages? Is it a hopeful outcome? Even hope requires a persistent sort of thinking or a persistent sort of attitude.
Truth is, I haven’t been persistent with most things. Which identifies why I’m no where regarding career. I’m getting deskilled and atrophying as a person simply because I haven’t kept at any one thing for a sufficient length of time. Where is this Holy Grail of persistence?
Talking about failure is partially a genuine cry for getting out of the cesspool. However it is often mixed with that strange need for pity and self pity. No motive is pure. Also why would I put such personal things online? Again it’s the mixed motive. A sense of accountability mixed with ‘oh look at poor me!’
Beyond that, thinking about failure I can see what a slippery term it is. It is such a mixed term. In one sense it is about expectation. If we don’t meet an expectation we consider it to be a failure. The optimist is able to somehow see it is a victory. the realist sees it as it is but is able to accept it and move on. I don’t seem to be either of those exalted folk.
In another sense it is about perspective. People say that a change of perspective is needed. I think that’s harder than it looks. Perspective is not about a decision. It’s about turning a habit of thinking. and that takes time, effort and persistence. Time and effort I have, but persistence? I have very little of that. The next post will hopefully be on that.
I’m going to try and write about failure. Hopefully it will go over a few posts. If it doesn’t well… point proven!
I’m not a complete failure. But overall I think I am. I am of course measuring failure and success by very general standards. People say that I shouldn’t compare myself to others but why not? Comparing ourselves to others is part of our survival mode. If someone else is doing something good or better we would like to do so as well.
The odd thing here is that the opposite of failure ie success is a very ambiguous concept for me. But there are thousands of books published on success so obviously there is some kind of an understanding of success out there. For me my understanding of failure and lack of understanding of success comes from a simple human awareness: that something is wrong but I’m not sure what should take its place.
There is also the issue of failure as a perspective issue. In my perspective I’ve failed. People probably would try and convince me to change my perspective, which is a fair enough challenge. However the call to change perspective must come through some kind of an argument which needs to have some convincing features in it. It can be either pure facts, or empathy or even an emotional outburst.
The other comparison that might be made is how many more people are less well off than me. I don’t fully identify with this because I feel that I should have made the most with what I had and I didn’t. Others probably had less than me and so couldn’t make it. It doesn’t make me feel any less of failure.
So this is the first ramble. The second might arrive. Or it might not.
I’m a fading memory
marginal victories, in the middle pages
possible skills, draining down the sink
probable achievements, thrown in the bin
no one to blame, but my lazy self