There's that old adage that we all hear in our lives, "Failure is not an option." We learn it well over the years and come to understand it as truth. But is it?
I don't think it is. I strongly disagree with this statement. Now you who read this blog might think this is odd, because of how much I talk about your mindset. This statement is simply putting you into a mindset whereby failure will hopefully be eliminated. But, in life there are few key things that, I believe, cannot be avoided. Failure is one of them. It surrounds us and like the title says, is inevitable. It is something we will always face. But is it that bad?
I personally like the statement that "Failure is the mother of success," much more. That statement puts you into a true mindset for success. One whereby you become cognizant of the fact that failure is always there, in the shadows and sometimes right in the middle of, the trail to success. As Thomas Edison says, "I have not failed. I have just found 10,000 ways that won't work," while discussing his process of inventing the lightbulb. And he's right if you think about it.
Failure is the most poignant lesson that can be given to us. When we fail we aren't "failing," in the common societal sense. Instead failure is the teacher and we must be the student. The master is pointing out what is wrong in our lives, what we are doing wrong, what path we are taking that cannot possibly lead to success and completion. So we must follow the master. We must be able to acknowledge our failure without ego, without vanity, and without despair. Because, there shouldn't be any despair in the first place. Our failures are NEVER the end. We can always bounce back stronger than before, we just need to learn how.
But, how do we learn? Well we employ the same ideas that we use in mindfulness and meditation. What are those ideas? Well they are acceptance, presence, and acknowledgement without involvement. What I mean by that is we must...
1.) Accept our failure. Not to be discouraged by it or enraged, we must accept what has transpired and push on to the next step.
2.) Be Present within our failure. Enjoy the moment for what it has to offer and sit back & relax in the fact that a lesson will come out of this, no matter how bad it was.
3.) Acknowledge without Involvement because as we learn in meditation we must sit in silence and acknowledge our worldly surroundings, but not interact, because that is the path to mindfulness. And so we must do that when faced with failure. Acknowledge the failure as it has happened, but (and this is what I mean by without involvement) do not fret over your failure, do not stress. DO NOT DWELL IN THE PAST. DO NOT LET IT CONTROL YOU. Move on, always.
As we move through our commitments, whatever they may be, from our lifestyle or food decisions to running or fitness in general, we will fail. There will come a time, more than once, when we will reach a wall and not know how to overcome it, not know how to cross the divide without falling in, or maybe we already fell in and cannot get out. It will be hard and we will question our commitments, but when it is hard, when the going gets tough, that is the optimal time to regroup mentally and physically. To accept the lesson that failure has taught us and embrace it. To run with it as some may say and push on with that new token of knowledge that will only benefit us.
But, when it's hard how do we find the perseverance to regroup and push on? How can we? We are afraid of pain and suffering, because we are afraid of change. And as failure brings pain and pain brings change, we are fundamentally afraid of failure. Because, of this paradox it may seem impossible to accept failure as a lesson and get to know pain as the teacher. But, again as mindfulness teaches, we can change. We can change without fear or conflict. Instead we can make peaceful, positive, and above all lasting change that will only be a benefit.
How though? How do we reach this level of change? What can possibly bring us there? Well, we can bring us there. You can bring you there. Change is always within your grasp, if you're ready to take it. Not to be cheesy! But, it's true. If you can accept failure, stay present within it, and acknowledge it's many lessons then maybe, just maybe you can build that lasting change. And like I said it won't be easy, it never is right? But, health & wellness, mindfulness, ultrarunning, daily life, family life, and work we must accept, be present within, and acknowledge that there are many and inevitable failures that we will face, but always remember that they are NEVER the end!
Thank you as always.