I do my best to journal. I rarely read what I’ve written in any systematic way. When I read my journal it is usually mere perusing. I recently found notes I made after a series of failures. You know what, there are many things failure reminds me.
This maybe obvious but failure reminds me that I’m not perfect. I have blind spots; many of them. Sometimes I’m blind to the fact that I have them. Unchecked success can breed self-destructive arrogance. Arrogance is a cataract that causes many to think they have no shortcomings.
The perfect plan is a myth. The best we can do is our best. And, despite this, things we anticipated or not, can present challenges. They can throw us off and bring endeavours to nought.
Failure reminds me that perfection is a process, never an event. The only true perfection we could ever attain is its relentless pursuit.
Failure reminds me that there’s a better way; I just haven’t found it. It tells me not to stop searching for a better way. Because, there is one. The better way will elude only when we stop searching for it. Failure says, “There is a way to get it right, that wasn’t…”
Failure makes me aware of areas I need improvement. It exposes weakness. Sometimes it reminds me of what I already know about myself. At other times it reveals new areas of possible learning. Failure tells me what I need to go to school for. It exposes areas of ignorance and lack of skill.
Some moments of failure have forced me to refocus on what I’m good at. Failure reminds me that I’m not good at everything and that I should do more in my areas of strength.
Sometimes success doesn’t do enough to encourage me in my strengths. There have been times that success has caused me to think I could do anything and everything well. Not true. It wasn’t success, it was that I let it poison my thinking.
[Tweet “Failure is sometimes a necessary arrogance-antidote”]
One of the things failure reminds me is to stay humble. Without humility we can never be great students. No learning happens when we think we know it all. When no, or little learning happens, there’s no or little maturity.
Failure reminds me that I need others. When I fail, I’m reminded that I have everything I need to succeed, I just don’t have it all within me. Some of the things I need are with other people. It is through relationship or seeking their help or service I can achieve.
Failure challenges me to applaud others in both their failures and success. To cheer them on in their failure because I know how hard it can be.
Failure can be the result of haste. Failure reminds me to slow down. To be more calculated. Failure reminds me of the African proverb: ‘Let me hurry’ gave birth to, ‘be late’. (That was its literal translation). Speed is not always expedient; that is what failure reminds me.
It is in recent years that we’ve been challenged to embrace failure. Various authorities remind us that there are benefits to not getting things right. It is what we do with the failure that makes all the difference. Failure is a reminder.
Remember to ask what lessons you’ve just learnt and reminders you’ve just had.