Today is the first day of the last month of the year, and I have been writing this blog for over 300 days. I have learned many lessons throughout this year about myself, and though I have not really chronicled the growth I have seen in this blog, I can say that writing daily has helped me to better recognize the things that I have seen change throughout the year. I have definitely noticed that the year is much shorter than it seems, and that things can change quickly over the course of the year. If I could categorize this year into four themes for each quadrant, they would be, new beginnings, taking risks, bitter ends, and fresh starts. Not every year will go like this but as I have seen in this year, things can change rapidly so it is important to stay focused or you may find yourself stuck in a terrible season. In the beginning of the year, I decided to try a few new things, and as I went along in the year I took a few more risks here and there. The risks I took yielded varying results that at times culminated into unforeseen endings. Once I got over those “bitter ends,” I realized that life is full of endings and beginnings, and in order to continue you must always be ready to restart at something new. As I head into this final month of the year I will do what I have done all year, and that is to continue to learn, grow, and get better at whatever I am doing at the current time. Life is full of triumphs and setbacks, and the only way to make it through the setbacks is to remember the approaching triumphs and to continue moving forward.
There is something that has always bothered me about the phrase, “at least you tried.” It is the ultimate false consolation prize for failing to reach a goal. I know that it is nearly impossible to succeed at everything you attempt, but I find it far less helpful to hear those words than to hear actual encouragement after a tough loss. The thing that bothers me about the phrase is the assumption that this obstacle that was being faced is too big to actually get over. This term basically denotes the notion that one has been utterly defeated. I guess I generally dislike this term because, to me, it means you will never try again, or ever be successful in that endeavor. I understand that there are certain obstacles that we are only given one chance to overcome, but with things like that I rarely ever hear the words, “at least you tried.” I respect anybody who is working towards a goal, and if they fail, I prefer to encourage them to keep going for it, or to continue working hard to get back on track. At least you tried, is not an encouraging phrase, it is actually quite disparaging when you think about it. I know I have used this term in the past, but I am committed to remove it from my vocabulary, since encouragement is the best way to help anyone through a moment of failure.
I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.
I love this quote, I may have to use it as my new motto. It is never easy to create something great and the old saying goes “you can’t make an omelette without breaking a few eggs,” Thomas Edison was a great inventor who is celebrated for the things he accomplished, but there is little known about his failures. In order to reach the level of success that gained Edison his international notoriety, he had to go through thousands of setbacks. What makes Edison great is that he not only looked at his failures as just a minor issue, he looked at them as a learning experience, and built on each “failure” in order to reach his goal. I have to admit, there have been times in my life when I felt like I failed, and I ended up either moving on to something else or just putting plans on a shelf for an extended time. The message I gather from this quote is that every action towards a goal is worth something, often times we like to make setbacks bigger than they actually are, but from this quote and the life of Thomas Edison we can see that any misstep can be just brick in the building that is success, as long as one is willing to press on to their goals. Edison was quite the inventor, and I and the world at large will be forever grateful that he decided to reach his goals in spite of his many failures.
I have always wondered why people cheat, and I am not referring to relationships, but to other ethical situations. As a child I was always taught that cheaters never win, and that cheating is done for instant gratification, but I have since learned that cheating is no “short game.” Cheating is much like lying in a sense, and I guess it can be referred to as another form of lying. Cheating is not a one time decision, when a person decides to cheat they must then make provisions for the future of their deceitful endeavors. As an example, a person who cheats on an entrance exam must figure out a way to continue to cheat in order to keep up the charade of being a successful student, as well as find ways to keep others in the dark about their actions. In my opinion, cheating is as difficult as actually getting the work done, and individuals who cheat will always be in fear of getting caught. People who cheat do it because they cannot live without believing they have succeeded. These individuals have basically given up on trying to hone a skill or reach a goal, and have found a way to get past the difficulty of a task without doing the work. Cheating is the ultimate level of self gratification, when someone cheats, they are basically saying “I don’t care about anything or anyone as long as I get recognition.” Many famous individuals have been caught cheating and the first thing they do is apologize to the public and their families, while I consider myself the forgiving type, there is always a part of me that believes no cheater is ever really sorry. Cheating has become something that is seen as a spur of the moment thing, but cheating is and has always been a long term heavily thought out action. Individuals who involve themselves in cheating never plan to apologize, because they plan to never get caught. The best thing anyone can do is just work hard, and use their gifts wisely, cheating causes more problems than it’s worth.
Failure is the great adversary of success, but also quite possibly the greatest catalyst for reaching your goals. Robert F. Kennedy once said, “only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly,” and while success never seems close in times of failure, the ability to press on leads to life’s greatest victories. Whenever you find yourself reaching for a goal, there are many setbacks, these can be small or large, a setback isn’t considered failure unless you quit. As life progresses and responsibilities advance setbacks become more common, but with growth comes a natural adaptability to abrupt change. Most people take setbacks in stride, when you know what is important a small speed bump won’t send you off track, but there are also many who cannot deal with setbacks, those are the people who succumb to failure most often. People who cannot deal with setbacks usually stop taking risks, they usually end up failing at their long desired goals due to the fact that they stop trying. Robert F. Kennedy’s quote is most inspirational to anyone who faces multiple setbacks in life, it is a reminder to keep going no matter how risky it may seem, because the achievement will be much greater. Failure is not and should not be an option when looking to achieve your goals, it takes patience, and courage but those who consistently fight through their setbacks will find themselves the most successful.