Getting back up when staying down is more convenient.
A few years ago, I was a high school student with a long list of goals. It’s almost insane to think about how fast time has flown.
Bright-eyed and excited about what the future had in store for me, I was oozing with lofty expectations I couldn’t hold back.
I had it all figured out in my head too:
Graduate from high school with an exceptional GPA, go to a prestigious college or university with a full athletic scholarship, shoot like Steph Curry and make millions in the NBA.
Easy enough, right?
Not long before graduation, however, I quickly found out that things don’t always go according to plan. But there was a vital lesson learned about how we ought to respond in those moments.
Making Sure It’s What You Want
There were no offers pouring in as I had always imagined they would be. There were no scouts flooding the stands, disguised as fans and watching my every move.
I didn’t know what to think about life anymore. My grades were solid, and I had a good head on my shoulders, but everything before that time seemed to be such a waste.
Four years of blood, sweat, and tears… down the drain. In my eyes, I had failed big time. All the while I was missing the bigger picture.
Failure is defined by those who stare it straight in the eyes until it crumbles. They pursue what they want until failure itself gives up.
For most of us, there are a number of people we look up to. People who have modeled success so well we stamp out our pursuits based on everything they’ve done.
But is this really the best way to live our lives? Pursuing the dreams of someone else?
Think about it: there are abilities you possess that others don’t. There are paths you are destined to take because it is in you to do so. And that’s not a bad thing.
The moment we realize that we are most satisfied when we set the goals that are unique to us, we’d begin to take careful consideration of what lies inside more often.
Doing so will ultimately bring us the highest level of joy conceivable.
Failing in pursuit of a dream that is not your own provides no real value to your life, no real lesson to be learned.
Remember when I said I had plans to make it to the NBA and make millions? I soon realized that this was not what I wanted to do. Instead, it was my brother’s aspiration all along.
As a child, he would always tell me how much he wanted to play professional basketball in front of thousands of fans as they cheered in celebration of how stellar he was.
Our conversations often had something to do with basketball. So, quite naturally, it rubbed off on me.
But failing to make it to the League didn’t make me want to try harder and check out an alternative. On the contrary, it brought out what I actually loved to do.
Focusing on what matters.
I love to write.
I love the art of grouping words together in such a way that conveys emotion, strengthens our understandings and tells a story. This is where successful failing comes into play.
When we do what brings us authentic satisfaction, coming up short becomes a learning experience, not an operation.
We don’t give up on things we love. Why? Because there is no other substitute, no other means of attracting our attention more than what tugs at us most.
Instead, we get back up, we brush ourselves off, and we do it over and over again — until it’s done right. Our drive to keep on learning never dies because we’ve finally found what we were made for.
Maybe I’m talking out of the side of my head.
Or maybe you can relate to this. Perhaps you too have discovered the underlining factor behind your contentment in life, so you haven’t bothered to look back. Good for you.
Either way, we weren’t designed to mimic the pursuits of other people in the hopes of capturing true happiness for ourselves. No, we were made to fail at what we love, to fail differently, to fail with improvement.
Because this type of failure is what produces success.