Saturday, January 06, 2007

Success Means Surviving Failure and Learning From It

Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure...than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much nor suffer much, because they live in a grey twilight that knows not victory nor defeat.
- Theodore Roosevelt

Are they afraid of life, those poor spirits? Afraid of failure? Afraid of success?

Of this we may be certain, they are each afraid of something.

Perhaps they do not trust others because they have been burned too many times in the past when they trusted those they believed they could depend on. Glorious triumphs always depend on the cooperation or support of others. Those who do not trust cannot build toward triumph because they dare not.

Western society makes failure seem the worst thing that could happen to anyone. Parents, eager that their children not be among the pack in the middle of society, enroll their children in classes and engage them in lessons to improve their intellect before they have passed the babyhood stage. To them, having their child be "average" would be a clear declaration that the parents were failures.

Parents oriented toward sports have their children in team activities or competitive events before the kids even know what competition is. One way or another, those kids must be stars.

Many of the children of aggressive parents end up living unexciting lives because they couldn't stand the pressure of competition from peers and stress from parents while they were still kids. Others make the grade to success, then fall apart in different ways, such as emotionally or socially, when they can't hold their own in the many ways that are necessary beyond those of their area of expertise and skill.

Perhaps the greatest impediments to glorious triumph are not having the right goals in the first place or not having the dedication to reaching that exalted level because of the necessity of having to give up too much of the rest of life to reach it.

The potential of a child today having a sour or bitter life as an adult is enormous. What do parents want for their children? And what are they prepared to sacrifice for them to achieve it?

What do the children want? And what would they have to sacrifice of a full and balanced life in order to achieve what their parents want for them? Can the two objectives ever meet?

It's all very well for parents to say "I just want my daughter to be happy." Most parents, I believe, would be satisfied with that. However, there is little evidence that those parents have the skills to teach their children what they need to know to be happy. Happiness, though sought by everyone, eludes many people because they don't know what it is beyond what they are told by television commercials, that happiness can be bought.

Happiness is an unreachable goal if you don't know where it is or wouldn't recognize it if you saw it. Many happy people are "failures" by the general standards of society. They ketp trying to find it until they did.

Dare, fail, then try again until you find what you want from life.

Mostly importantly, seek your own goal instead of one set for you by someone else. Chances are good that you will never reach a point where that other person (the goal-setter) will be totally satisfied. You need to do your own looking, your own daring, your own venturing out.

Bill Allin
Turning It Around: Causes and Cures for Today's Epidemic Social Problems, striving to shine a light on dark paths with bright goals.
Learn more at

No comments: