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What Does Failure Look Like?

“It is hard to fail, but it is worse than to never have tried” –

Theodore Roosevelt

Today’s post is a result of the weekly challenge from My Red Page about the above quote.

It seems to me that there is a blurry line between failure and success; a line based on one’s perception of what either outcome looks like. success failure 2

If we start on a journey, one we’ve planned and anticipated, with a destination in mind, but fail to reach that specific place, does that mean the journey is a failure? If we begin a relationship with high expectations of what it will look like in 1 or 15 or 30 years, and the relationship ends after only 6 months, is that relationship incomplete or failed?

Is the face of success smooth and rosy as we cross the finish line exactly when and where we had planned? And is the face of failure worn, tired, weather beaten when we realize we are miles from our intended target?

I think not. But rather I believe that any journey, any endeavor, any project, any encounter is a victory. It is a victory because we began the process, we had a vision, and we trusted ourselves to pursue the dream that was festering in our creative minds. success failure 5

I’m leaving on a trip soon, with a destination in mind. But what if I don’t reach that place? What if an uncharted road along the way looks more inviting? Do I follow a different path, knowing it will not lead me to my intended destination? Or do I doggedly ‘stay the course’, and perhaps miss out on a marvelous surprise that I can only experience by changing my direction? success failure 4

My life has been filled with wild expectations and determined steps to reach where I thought I wanted to be, or should be, or was expected to be. But after years of stumbling, sprinting, crying, laughing, planning, and wandering I have found that there are no failures.

Oh yes, I am disappointed about a lot of things I wanted to turn out a certain way but didn’t. I would never have said I wanted to be married 4 times. I would never want to close a business because it was not making the kind of money I thought it should make. I would not be estranged from a sibling because of who knows why.

But…life happens. Today I can look at those ‘failures’ and realize they are only failures because of how I look at them.

Four marriages?  Am I better off having shared a part of me with these guys? Oh yes. They each taught me something…mostly things I really didn’t want to know about myself.

A failed business? Did I gain anything from starting a business that didn’t work the way I wanted it to? Oh yes. That adventure got me back to my writing roots which led me to blogging, and ultimately to you.

A dysfunctional relationship within my family? Can any good come from unresolved issues? A resounding yes! As my mother always said, ‘Just because you are sisters doesn’t mean you have to be best friends’. Oh, thank you mother. I never did like that sister anyway! Tox_inedible.svg
So see, all those failures you have been fretting about…just look at what you gained by losing.

5 thoughts on “What Does Failure Look Like?

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