Saturday, May 27, 2006

Failing your way to success

A man can fail many times, but he isn't a failure until he begins to blame somebody else.
- John Burroughs

"Fail" is a non-judgmental state of being of something. "Failure" is a judgmental label placed on someone. The distinction is important, especially for the someone who is doing something.

Failing at repeated attempts to learn, to accomplish or to do something is part of the process of progress. Failing is what lends depth to wisdom, which would otherwise be a collection of relatively unimportant and unverified facts.

Society teaches us to avoid taking blame for anything, as well as to take credit for as much as possible. It does this by example. That is, we learn this by observing others whom we believe are role models for how to behave.

Doesn't this--the quotation plus the previous paragraph--mean that we have societies filled with failures? Look around you. Most people have trouble giving even one example of someone whose life they would like to emulate.

To be successful, then, means to be different. To be different means to experience failing at many things along the path of life. It's part of the process of growth.

Wisdom means admitting your failures to yourself, learning from them, then challenging yourself to do better next time.

There is no shame in failing unless you give up as a result of it or if you blame someone else, in which case you give up your right to make a good life for yourself.

To have a good life, you must feel good about yourself. You can't feel good about yourself as long as you feel guilt about either your failures or about blaming someone else needlessly.

That leaves lots of room open for people to be successful, as there is little competition for the position. It's a struggle to get there though, which is why so many people give up and blame someone else.

Bill Allin
'Turning It Around: Causes and Cures for Today's Epidemic Social Problems,' striving to show you the path to success, then encourage you to follow it.
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