“Results! Why, man, I have gotten a lot of results. I know several thousand things that won’t work.” ~Thomas A. Edison
I talk a lot about whether events are positive or negative, but that these are just labels we place on events. This quote really hits upon what I mean by that. Most of the time we consider events that don’t meet our expectations, or worse – our hopes, of success, are most often classified as failures. Failure carries its own connotation of negativity, since we’re taught our whole lives that results that don’t achieve success are considered undesirable. It is not until much later in life that we realize that everything is a potential success. We see end goals, and consider nothing to be a success until we cross those proverbial finish lines to reach them. Along the way, we ignore the incremental success we achieved. We also ignore the often serendipitous bits of learning we gained that might be used later to determine an even more successful path along some tangential line we never considered, and ‘would have’ never considered without that brief diversion from the original intention.
As we get older, we spend a great deal of effort to establish neural pathways that equate failure with bad. It is not our intention, and even less our fault. We’re taught this by the world around us. We learn it ourselves through the process of envy, or even ostracizing treatment by others (or our own self esteem), or even the vicarious goals of our mentors in their genuine desire for our overall success in life and their altruistic desire to spare us from the negativity they felt when they had those same experiences. What ends up happening, is they attempt to teach us their experience. To both them, and us, we get so focused on the goal that we forget the journey. We forget that each step along the way is another experience that will give us tools to build a future that is guided along a vast array of pathways to successes. In fact, it could be argued that the better we get at things, the fewer mistakes or failures we experience, which then makes us less of learners than those who are younger.
We should all learn to embrace mistakes, and failures. Failures teach us far more than successes. By learning to accept these things as normal, and in no way negative, we keep a broad range of experiences happening in our lives. Over time we learn to expect the unexpected, and not to fear it, because we have not equated it with negativity. Ultimately our horizons become far more broad as well, with unlimited depth. Impossibility becomes a foreign term, with no meaning or impact on our lives. It ceases to exist, because every path leads somewhere, and often to places we never considered. Whether we want to be there or not is pretty much irrelevant. However, having been there is a critical component of adding to our understanding of all other experiences. In this way, we create a full and robust life for ourselves and, by adopting this as a foundation for a purely positive existence, it becomes the nature of (gaining) experience that we pass along to our children, which one would argue can’t happen early enough in their youth.
Well, I’m off to meet and greet my day! Will I make any mistakes, or fail at anything? Who knows? But I do know one thing… I don’t care if I do or not.
Have a fantastic day! I’m guaranteed to do the same!