“Failure is not fatal, but failure to change might be.” John Wooden
J.K. Rowling Speaks at Harvard Commencement: The Fringe Benefits Of Failure.
It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all, in which case you have failed by default. J. K. Rowling
What does Failure mean to you? Have you had an epic fail? There are many ways we can interpret failure in our lives but some of the common ways can be: Failure to act – Failure to carry out a task, Failure to launch – Failure to anticipate, Failure to understand – Failure to perceive the outcome of events before us. On any given day, we are faced with opportunities to fail; we fail to communicate the facts, tell the truth, express how we feel about a situation or even spread lies that create problems for us and others. All of these behaviors lead to some form of failure. In the worst case scenario, they can lead to accidents and the loss of life. Sometimes, we choose to not act because we are unprepared. We might choose to not respond at all because we perceive things differently, or simply choose the path of no return because we didn’t anticipate the depth of obstacles in our path. While failure is inevitable in daily life, we can mitigate it by being clear about our decisions, our point of view and our actions. Above all, own your S$%$t!
Recently, two events: The Ashley Madison Hack and the Inside Amazon Corp Culture reveal, were key examples of the epic failure (of those implicated) to communicate and address troubling matters either at home or on the job. When what we say is in conflict with what we do, failure is around the corner. Communication is a critical tool to help us avoid failures but, it is not a panacea for all that ails us. WE must work at improving our overall failure quotient by the actions we take. Regardless of what we end up doing, our propensity to fail is always around the corner and we might as well face it, embrace it, and work to resolve it. We can, like Kullervo’s Curse, choose to hold all of life’s slights in our heart and seek revenge that costs us everything or we can, like the many celebs and ordinary folks we meet everyday, choose to get up, brush off the slights, and move forward. Life is like a labyrinth, with dead ends, wrong turns and other obstacles that can throw us off course, and we must decide when to quit and when to move forward. One thing I know for sure is that, if you are actively engaged in life, FAILURE is inevitable.
A Story: The Complaining Monk & The Monastery
There once was a monastery that was very strict. Following a vow of silence, no one was allowed to speak at all. But there was one exception to this rule. Every ten years, the monks were permitted to speak just two words. After spending his first ten years at the monastery, one monk went to the head monk. “It has been ten years,” said the head monk. “What are the two words you would like to speak?”
“Bed… hard…” said the monk.
“I see,” replied the head monk.
Ten years later, the monk returned to the head monk’s office. “It has been ten more years,” said the head monk. “What are the two words you would like to speak?”
“Food… stinks…” said the monk.
“I see,” replied the head monk.
Yet another ten years passed and the monk once again met with the head monk who asked,
“What are your two words now, after these ten years?”
“I… quit!” said the monk.
“Well, I can see why,” replied the head monk. “All you ever do is complain.”
“Failures, repeated failures, are finger posts on the road to achievement. One fails forward toward success.” C. S. Lewis
Winning is great, sure, but if you are really going to do something in life, the secret is learning how to lose. Nobody goes undefeated all the time. If you can pick up after a crushing defeat, and go on to win again, you are going to be a champion someday. Wilma Rudolph
What Constitutes Failure? When we are unable to attain a goal, receive an expected outcome, or accomplish a task, we have failed at X. But that isn’t the final way we fail. We fail when we turn our backs, refuse to respond or get back up, or as some would say, we throw in the towel. But Failure isn’t always final and not an entirely “bad” thing. Even though FAILURE is inevitable, we don’t have to throw in the proverbial towel. Why? Because there are some benefits to failure. Failure does build character as it forces us to face our flaws and limitations and overcome them. Failure teaches us humility, points us in a new direction that could be far more beneficial that our previous attempts, and gives us experience that we can use to correct future errors. When we accomplish tasks without friction or struggle, it is our human tendency to take it all for granted. Often, when we read success stories about people like Oprah, J.K. Rowling and many others who struggled to accomplish their dreams, it is easy to forget that they went through a challenging period in their lives and had to accept other options while they battled to achieve their dreams. It is the failing forward that gives us impetus to continue and not give up, and so, don’t write yourself off because a set of doors were slammed in your face. Pick your self up and consider Plan B. Only YOU can decide when to call it quits… then go for Plan B.
A Story: The Fear Of Failure
After winning several archery contests, the young and rather boastful champion challenged a Zen master who was renowned for his skill as an archer. The young man demonstrated remarkable technical proficiency when he hit a distant bull’s-eye on his first try, and then split that arrow with his second shot. “There,” he said to the old man, “see if you can match that!” Undisturbed, the master did not draw his bow, but rather motioned for the young archer to follow him up the mountain. Curious about the old fellow’s intentions, the champion followed him high into the mountain until they reached a deep chasm spanned by a rather flimsy and shaky log. Calmly stepping out onto the middle of the unsteady and certainly perilous bridge, the old master picked a far away tree as a target, drew his bow, and fired a clean, direct hit. “Now it is your turn,” he said as he gracefully stepped back onto the safe ground. Staring with terror into the seemingly bottomless and beckoning abyss, the young man could not force himself to step out onto the log, no less shoot at a target. “You have much skill with your bow,” the master said, sensing his challenger’s predicament, “but you have little skill with the mind that lets loose the shot.” via Suler/Rider.edu
The details for Motivation Mondays are below. Join in! The themes for July and August are:
07/06 – FREEDOM
07/13 – WORRY
07/20 – WEALTH
07/27 – GRACE
08/03 – TIME
08/10 – CONTROL
08/17 – PURPOSE
08/24 – FAILURE
08/31 – HOPE
“The season of failure is the best time for sowing the seeds of success.” Paramahansa Yogananda
Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything – all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure – these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Steve Jobs
How do we overcome our Fear of Failure? The fear of failure can lead us to fail. As ironic as that might sound, when we remain silent over matters of great importance to us, it is an act of moral failure. When we don’t make decisions that will empower us and enrich our lives we are sabotaging our success by opening the door to failure. The refusal to stand up and shift gears and define what works for you can been seen as failure. It doesn’t have to be the case because each of us can choose what we will leave behind and how to move forward to accomplish our goals. As Steve Jobs say above, the recognition that time is short and death is imminent can be the jolt we all need to act in our best interest. But it doesn’t have to be that extreme. We can begin by looking at a fears and working through them with some professional help. We can choose to try a different approach that works well with our style and way of thinking and then accept, with gratitude, our small steps to progress. The main thing to remember about failure is that we can get to choose whether our experiences are mistakes/failures with life lessons that help us grow, or tragedies/failures that pin us down permanently. The choice is ours.
A Story: Three Days More
Suiwo, the disciple of Hakuin, was a good teacher. During one summer seclusion period, a pupil came to him from a southern island of Japan.
Suiwo gave him the problem: “Hear the sound of one hand.”
The pupil remained three years but could not pass this test. One night he came in tears to Suiwo. “I must return south in shame and embarrassment,” he said, “for I cannot solve my problem.”
“Wait one week more and meditate constantly,” advised Suiwo. Still no enlightenment came to the pupil. “Try for another week,” said Suiwo. The pupil obeyed, but in vain.
“Still another week.” Yet this was of no avail. In despair the student begged to be released, but Suiwo requested another meditation of five days. They were without result. Then he said: “Meditate for three days longer, then if you fail to attain enlightenment, you had better kill yourself.”
On the second day the pupil was enlightened. via 101ZenStories
Positive Motivation Tip: Failure is inevitable. Our decision to get back up is imperative.
Motivation Mondays is open to anyone who wishes to share a motivational quote, photo, personal challenge or a post that encourages others to start the week on an upbeat note.
Basic Instructions: Each week, I will have a motivation word to help us create a response. (See listed words for the months above/below)
Email address: You may email or share your post as a comment and I will add it to the round-up of related posts. email it to: contact(@)mirthandmotivation(.)com
Category tag: – Share your post using Motivation Mondays
Twitter hashtag: – Use this on Twitter #MotvnM
Dedicated Page: There is a dedicated page for Motivation Mondays. It has the same instructions and will include other helpful tools and a link to the round-up
Facebook Page: MotivationOnMondays Join our page and add your post and/or any motivational piece you think will be helpful to others.
Facebook Community: We have a Facebook community forum to compliment the page. It serves as another way to share uplifting posts and thoughts. Please join in and add your voice.
Badge: – I created a fun badge using PicMonkey’s free photo editing tools. You can create your own, use WordPress’ integrated tool on your blog or you are welcome to use mine. (see dedicated page)
Tag: – Motivation Mondays
Hashtag: – #MotvnM
- Motivation Mondays: PURPOSE (mirthandmotivation)
- Motivation Mondays: CONTROL (mirthandmotivation)
- Motivation Mondays: TIME (mirthandmotivation)
- Motivation Mondays: GRACE (mirthandmotivation)
- Motivation Mondays: WEALTH (mirthandmotivation)
- Motivation Mondays: WORRY (mirthandmotivation)
- Motivation Mondays: FREEDOM (mirthandmotivation)
- Motivation Mondays: TRUST (mirthandmotivation)
- Motivation Mondays: DETERMINATION (mirthandmotivation)
- Motivation Mondays: SACRIFICE (mirthandmotivation)
- Motivation Mondays: POSSIBILITIES (mirthandmotivation)
- Motivation Mondays: SIMPLICITY (mirthandmotivation)
- Motivation Mondays: Honoring SERVICE (mirthandmotivation)
- Motivation Mondays: WHAT’S A WELLNESS, FITNESS, HEALTHY LIFESTYLE? (mirthandmotivation)
- Motivation Mondays: HAPPINESS (mirthandmotivation)
- Motivation Mondays: APPRECIATION (mirthandmotivation)
- Motivation Mondays: MINDFULNESS (mirthandmotivation)
- Motivation Mondays: GROWTH (mirthandmotivation)
- Motivation Mondays: MISTAKES (mirthandmotivation)
- Motivation Mondays: PERFECTION (mirthandmotivation)
- Motivation Mondays: STRENGTH (mirthandmotivation)
- Motivation Mondays: HEALTH (mirthandmotivation)
- Motivation Mondays: Responsibility (mirthandmotivation)
- Motivation Mondays: Patience Is A Virtue (mirthandmotivation)
- Motivation Mondays: READ – Honoring Dr.Seuss (mirthandmotivation)
- Motivation Mondays: CELEBRATION (mirthandmotivation)
- Motivation Mondays: Presidents Day & Leadership (mirthandmotivation)
- Motivation Mondays: LOVE (mirthandmotivation)
- Motivation Mondays: ATTITUDE (mirthandmotivation)
- Motivation Mondays: Comfort Zone (mirthandmotivation.com)
- Motivation Mondays: Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s Most Inspired Quotes(mirthandmotivation)
- Motivation Mondays: Perspective (mirthandmotivation)
- Motivation Mondays: SILENCE (mirthandmotivation)
- Motivation Mondays: Regrets (mirthandmotivation)
- Motivation Mondays: Joy! (mirthandmotivation)
- Motivation Mondays: Compassion (mirthandmotivation)
- Motivation Mondays: The Busy Busy Trap (mirthandmotivation)
- Motivation Mondays: Forgiveness (mirthandmotivation)
- Motivation Mondays: Acceptance (mirthandmotivation)
- Motivation Mondays: GRATITUDE (mirthandmotivation)
- Motivation Mondays: Forgiveness (mirthandmotivation)
- Motivation Mondays: Courage (mirthandmotivation)
- Motivation Mondays: Dream (mirthandmotivation)
- Motivation Mondays: CHANGE (mirthandmotivation)
- Motivation Mondays: (mirthandmotivation)
- RIP Zig Ziglar: King of Motivation… (mirthandmotivation)
- Reflections: Be The Change… (mirthandmotivation)
PHOTO CREDITS/ATTRIBUTIONS: Zen Stories via Read.Goodweb, All Photos: Kullervo Cursing, Labyrinth, Holy Grail tapestry The Failure of Sir Launcelot, marriage fail, proposal fail, epic fail, Failure to Communicate, ostrich fail, Sadness, via Wikipedia and Others from my Personal Collection.