“Never Confuse a single defeat with a final defeat,” F. Scott Fitzgerald. If we are going to believe that it isn’t too late to go for what we want, then we must understand the process of learning and the role of failure. We must learn that success isn’t based on consecutive wins. It’s based on incorporating the lessons we learn from all of our life experiences. If we were to stop the first time something didn’t go as planned, we would never get anywhere. The world would be filled with millions of started projects and no completion, no follow through. The point isn’t to rack up accomplishments, it’s to learn what we can from all of our experiences.
The human mind is resilient and it is also curious. That curiosity isn’t what makes us stop something. In fact, it is what keeps us going. It is our training that makes us believe that if we don’t succeed on the first try that we have to stop. Even worse, our training makes us believe that we need to be perfect before we even try. That was something that stopped me before I started for a long time. It is our belief that we must be perfect before sharing with the world that holds us back. We are honestly gifted endless opportunities to start over—we literally are able to decide on something new each moment we are alive.
I want to add that I’m guilty of starting things and not following through. I’ve had a million excuses from things not being what I thought they were to feeling taken advantage of to literally not having enough hours in the day because I was over committed. So that was another lesson…only say yes to the things you want to do. But what I want is to remind people that there is beauty in learning, not in checking off a list. I wrote a piece about a year ago (maybe longer) about living life as a series of things to be completed. What happens when you check-list everything? You die. So we need to find the value in the things we do otherwise it’s all just activity. We’ve all felt like part of a machine before and that is no life. We need lessons and growth and dynamic living and interaction and cooperation and we need to meld it all together into the messy beauty that is living.
As long as we have breath in our bodies, we have the ability to turn things around. Nothing is final until death and even then, our energy keeps going. I want to caveat that we often confuse defeat with pain and that is because our success is tied to ego. We think we can’t show our faces again when the truth is the world needs to see our progress. We need to normalize the humanity of imperfection and the beauty in creation—which sometimes means going through crap repeatedly until it comes out right. When we tie pain or whatever other emotion we experience to purpose filled results, that gives us the drive to keep going. There is nothing that stops us except our own mind. No may not be a no…it may be a not now. Or it may be an adapt and try again. Or it may be this isn’t right, do what is your calling. So don’t confuse the issue. The world needs what you have to share no matter how messy it is. In fact, we may need that more because it is honest. Share it all.