Thomas Edison found 10,000 different ways to successfully fail at creating the incandescent lightbulb before one day he discovered the only right way. I wish Humanity still had that kind of resolve.
Think about this…
…what if Thomas Edison stopped after only 15 tries??
[Who knows, Humanity may have reverted back to knuckle dragging and grunting.]
…what if you are to the world what Edison was to the lightbulb?!?
A good rule of thumb is this: whatever you default to when you’re procrastinating is a giant clue as to where your interests and passions lie. When you honour your true calling you’ll love what you do, and as a reward for your intelligence and resolve, you too will never work another day in your life!
[Interestingly enough, if I’m avoiding doing erroneous chores or things I dread such as filing my taxes or cleaning toilets, I turn to writing.]
I’ve been consciously observing people for nearly two decades and realized that possessing the fortitude to sink our teeth into a project and stick with it until completion is a dying art. Resolve as a virtue has dwindled down to a barely discernible remnant of Edison’s commendable stick-to-it-attitude. More often than not, peoples’ default setting these days is to err on the side of caution. Many seek – and sadly find – acceptance within a depressing yet overly common tie…at one point or another they’ve all given up their hopes and dreams, currently settling for (or will soon settle for) a life of mediocrity.
Being realistic is the most commonly travelled road to mediocrity.
We tell ourselves stories that we wouldn’t have been good at it anyways, loser. It typically goes down something like this (strewn with self-loathing and cynicism):
- With a fits-and-starts approach, we ‘try‘ something a few times putting in minimal efforts, not willing to commit the time to mastering our craft – yet are flabbergasted when these mystical half-assed efforts don’t bring us overnight success. Must be the industries fault.
- Our belief and desire in the project – and in ourself – dissipates at an alarming rate, and in the wake of the proverbial ‘throwing in of the towel’ our friends and family write us off as a failure – hurling ‘I-told-you-so’ insults behind our backs and to our face (is one really worse than the other??).
- This one-two punch is quickly and surely followed by a looming loss of confidence in ourselves; leading to a deep-rooted belief that we are indeed a failure. Who am I to have a better life. I don’t deserve it.
- Blinded by our own neurosis, we begin feverishly shifting our energies from betterment into self-loathing; beating ourselves up both emotionally and subconsciously. Perhaps even physically. What a stupid idea. Certainly won’t be trying that ever again.
- The torment deepens as we avoid working on ourselves, focusing instead on imaginary grandeur to substantiate how ‘busy’ we are. Ignoring our misplaced priorities in order to poke fun at the ridiculousness of ever having thought stepping out of our box was a viable option in the first place. Honestly, I should be more realistic. This is as good as it gets for me.
- Enter various forms of self-sabotage [This is not an action plan, nor an escape, it is a cry for help] such as (over eating, over thinking, over drinking, partying, staying up too late, negative self-talk etc.). All in a wayward attempt to camouflage the underlying issue – that we simply don’t LOVE ourselves enough to persevere.
- Instead, we justify our failures by convincing ourselves that it’s okay to give up on our dreams. *Enter random excuse of how the actions (or inaction) of someone else has doomed your life for all eternity [eye roll]*.
- Crawling into a pit of despair – your only goal in life is to hide out wearing your fat pants and binge watch Schitt’s Creek on Netflix with the necessities: a comfy blanket, a bag of coke bottle candies and a big bowl of yesterday’s popcorn. Nothing like diving in to whatever crisis the Media has fabricated for us to drown our own sorrows. Anything to take the spotlight off our own misery and despair.
- Netflix binging is a sure-fire gateway – always ending in an awkward and uncomfortable sofa-snooze-fest [complete with drool, most probably].
- Following this Euphoria, you are rudely awakened by a sharp, unpleasant and equally predictable jolt as you are once again reunited with the fact that you have a body. Dazed and confused, you question if it’s even humanly possible to unfold yourself from the bizarre position and begin to gain certainty that you’ll likely have to accept that you shall indeed remain in this pretzel-like form for the rest of all time.
- These nonsensical thoughts are derailed by more nonsense as you question *like, legit* if your head is still attached to our body because you can’t tell given the bizarre angle of your neck. That’s great. Just great.
- The next day hits you like a tonne of bricks! Yet you remain ignorant to the factors that continue to land you in this same.exact.situation.
- An unending orchestra of random, snarky remarks rattle around among the brain fog…Somewhere in all that chaos and drama you manage to justify actual jealousy of sharks with laser beams attached to their heads, and ponder your exempt status as it relates to the sign in the fridge that reads ‘Don’t eat this – it is not your food’ – surely it can’t apply to you – after all, you didn’t have time to pack a lunch.
- You spend the rest of the day a slave to the unruly headache plaguing your existence.
- You’re basically a Zombie by the time you *finally* get home. Instead of having a nice family dinner and helping kids with their homework, you grab drive thru and float in and out of consciousness while the kids eat in front of the TV and stuff sandwiches into the VCR. You muster every ounce of strength you’ve got left and crawl into bed at 7:42pm with your clothes still on because you’ve lost your will to give a shit.
Don’t let the giants of fear and failure stare down at you and cause paralysis. Crush your fear. Don’t let your fear crush you.
Subconsciously these excuses begin (or continue) to berate our self-worth – feelings of inadequacy consume us, and our internal self-dialogue convinces us we simply didn’t deserve happiness.
Here are a few examples – some of which may seem (all too?) familiar:
…if we applied for a new position – we justify how it wouldn’t have been a good fit because of *enter random employee’s name and identify their annoying habit*…
…if we applied with a new company – we sell ourselves some nonsense about it being a farther drive and then all of a sudden we’re super relieved about all the extra time we won’t have to spend in traffic…
…if we had ventured into Network Marketing – we chalk it up to the industry being no good; and because those things don’t work anyways…
At the end of the day, we cannot escape the harsh reality that we didn’t really ‘try’ that hard at all. We kicked a can around a few times – taking a few steps forward – usually followed by a uncomfortable and immediate retreat back into our comfort zone.
It’s as if our ambition has been squelched…taking our creative intelligence and work ethic along with it.
Comfort zones aren’t usually very comfortable. Comfort now ensures long-term discomfort. Whereas discomfort now yields long-term comfort. Ironically.
1. You can’t develop balance while you’re already balanced… balance is actually developed while you’re falling. Therefore, failure makes us stronger – it teaches us how to develop balance.
Try standing like a Flamingo … you can’t get into that pose until you’re balanced, and you can’t hold that pose unless you’re balanced. One of those strange but true Universal Laws.
2. Cheer everyone on. All the time. Regardless.
Have you ever noticed how many times a baby falls down while attempting to walk? They fall down all the time, but they always get back up again. Falling makes them stronger too!
We don’t deem toddlers a failure when they fall ten thousand times while learning to walk. We don’t demean them for how many falls it took before they got it. We don’t laugh at them for trying again. No, that would make us savages.
Since we can muster joy and support for a child, why can’t we find within us the compassion and empathy to do exactly the same thing for a friend or co-worker, or better still, for ourselves?
Heck, we practically throw them a parade – cheering happy thoughts of love and support from the sidelines. Showering them with praise and accolades – assuring them they can do it because we believe they can! And when they finally reach our outstretched arms we love all over them with lots and lots of kisses, naturally!
It is completely normal to applaud the walkers for their resolve and ambition. Yet we are cynical and unsupportive of any adult who exhibits those same traits? Where does that excitement go? How do our cheers turn so quickly into daggers? We are like crabs in a bucket. Shame on us as a civilization. Don’t be that ‘friend’. Rise above it and be the light in someone’s life.
3. Proceed with caution when telling yourself stories. We must think happy thoughts.
This applies to the stories you tell other people about yourself, as well as what you say silently to yourself.
4. It is
acceptable necessary to quit feeling bad, silly or guilty for pouring yourself into two, or five (or even 30) different ideas with the intention of moving your life forward.
You probably don’t beat yourself up about having multiple pairs of shoes, right?? Of course not, that would be ridiculous! So why do we think less of ourselves if we try out a bunch of different interests; pursue various hobbies; and/or bust it at a day job while building a #sidehustle in our down time??
4.1. Keep trying until you find the right fit. Like shoes:
In general, us ladies have at least a few pairs of flats (casual/work/on the town versions – in a variety of colors), flip flops (…c’mon they take up like zero space in the closet so three pairs really only counts as 1 actual pair of shoes!), high heels and pumps, ankle boots – flat and high heeled versions, slippers, winter boots (not to be confused with the walking-the-dogs-in-the-winter’ boots) and at least one slightly bedazzled pair – maybe even with a kitten heel. You’re almost weird if you don’t.
For the guys out there, you’ve probably got brown work shoes and black ones too, a comfy pair of flips, the comfy slip-ons that you’re not allowed to wear in public (reserved for cutting the grass and late-night milk runs), converse – in a few colors because they’re cool, at least one pair of presentable running shoes, maybe even some
cowboy boots shit kickers, maybe even a pair of shower shoes – if you’re into that kind of thing.
5. We know from Malcolm Gladwell’s ‘Outliers’ that it takes approximately 10,000 hours to become a master at anything.
In regards to personal development and becoming your best and brightest self, you don’t need to invest all the hours in one place. Similarly, you don’t need to work at the same task, in the same chair, for the same company for 20 consecutive years to develop work experience.