Hey guys… I’m back. Again. Oops.
Today, I am (appropriately) going to talk about failure.
February is a good time to think about failure, because this is a time when so many people who “failed” to keep their new years resolutions January decide to just give up on them entirely. For all the think pieces and blog posts there are about making effective new years resolutions, there is relatively little written about what to do when you let your resolutions fall to the wayside. Recently, I discovered two great pieces of advice on this front. The brilliant John Oliver recommends lowering your expectations, and Apartment Therapy offers similar (more serious) advice. I think that is idea of revaluating and scaling down your new years resolutions has merit, but it also feels more than a little bit disappointing. I’m all for small victories but it’s still important to have huge goals too.
Rather than focus on tiny successes all the time, I like to embrace the fact that I am a failure.
“But Lauren, you shouldn’t say such negative things about yourself!” I hear you say. But it’s only negative if you think failure is a bad thing. In Worstward Ho, Samuel Beckett wrote what is probably my favourite quote ever:
Ever Tried. Ever Failed. No Matter. Try Again. Fail Again. Fail Better.
I honestly haven’t read or heard anything more inspiring than this. All of a sudden failure is acceptable because failure is not the end, it’s a checkpoint.
I think that a lot of our attitude about goals and goal-setting comes from our attitude about failure. We’re scared of it. It sounds big and scary and final, so when we think about making goals we make little ones that are almost impossible to fail. This isn’t necessarily a bad idea, in fact tons of experts say that it is the best way to build positive habits, but if you don’t grow your goals over time, then you’ll never grow. There is nothing wrong with big, ambitious resolutions, even if you fail them at first
I failed a LOT in 2015. I failed as a blogger, I failed to progress as an artist as much I wanted, I failed get the parts that I wanted, I failed to stay healthy, I even almost failed some classes (a new experience for me). I spent a lot of time being upset about all of that, but I’m done with all of that now. Now, I am going to focus on working harder, and failing better.
I have never felt more motivated.
photo by Hannah Paton