Should we accept failure?
I’ve written recently in this space about regret, and in another piece, forgiveness. Perhaps the best connection between those two concepts is the ability to accept failure. In other words, our ability accept our human-ness.
Because we are human, we fail. And it turns out most of us fail many times before we finally get anything right, depending on our definition of “right”. I tried to get this concept across to my children by using the example of baseball.
I described to them, (which also gave me the opportunity to emphasize a little practical math!) that a really good baseball hitter only needs to get a hit one out of three times (a .300 average) to be considered exceptional. “So if you fail two thirds of the time, you could still get into the Hall of Fame.” My message to them: “You are human, so give yourself a break!”
Now that they are fully grown adults, I wonder if they remember these lessons. Will they repeat them to their kids? Only time will tell, and I hope I’m around along enough to see for myself!
Here’s my message to you. Of course we all want to succeed, and society tells us we should do our best every time, and we should. At least we should try. But effort will not always translate to results. In fact, most of the time we will feel like the mythologic Sisyphus pushing that huge boulder up the mountain side, only to have it roll to the bottom again, for us to repeat the procedure over and over, each time with the same result - extreme effort with very little success.
But is there really no success? Haven’t we gained something? Although the end doesn’t always justify the means, sometimes the means is the end. Yes, that’s right, in life, maybe the effort counts for something, even if it doesn’t get us the result we desire.
So as we finish 2022, and are about to embark on a New Year, my message to you is to keep at it folks! The effort is doing you good, even when you fail, and you can expect to fail, over and over. Remember that the arc of the universe is long, as Dr. King said, and it bends toward justice and truth. Your rewards will come, perhaps not in the form you expect, or in the time you are counting on, but they will come. And if you are lucky enough to achieve some success, it may not look anything like what you expected. You will be rewarded, in one form or another, for your efforts, even if they result in failure! All the best for 2023!!