Failure seems to be a hot topic these days…or maybe it’s success that’s the hot topic, but failure seems to always tag along. They go everywhere together. It’s hard not to think about these things. So many people are thinking about success and failure as they watch their jobs get cut and their life-savings dwindle. I can see all the upcoming May college graduates, a feeling of much anticipated success still fresh in their minds, spending months waiting for something to happen. I know what that feels like. It feels like failure.
Maybe that is a product of our school system, our culture, our screwed up definitions of both success and failure. Whatever it is, at that moment it feels insurmountable and real. Even having had these experiences it’s still difficult to not, in a moment of weakness, feel failure as a measure of yourself.
It’s times like these that looking at the past is actually a good thing. Not necessarily at your own past, although being reflective does have its benefits, but also at the lives of those who came before. I came across this article by John Maxwell, one of the gurus of the leadership market. It seems he also knows failure/success to be the topic right now. In this article he talks about several individuals we consider to be successful, but who in their lives encountered many “failures” along the way. So much so that at least one of those individuals never got the chance to bask in his own greatness, his success only coming well after he was no longer alive. This article could not have found me at a better time. This article reminded me that success does not come after six months or even necessarily after six years. It reminded me that failure is part of the journey. It reminded me that it is not a measure of who I am today or will be tomorrow.
Keeping this mindset about failure is at times difficult, but I’m starting to realize it’s way more personally fulfilling.