How do I fight what appears to be evidence of failure?
When I was younger, I felt fearless. I didn’t weigh out the pros and cons of an inspired moment. I just jumped in and did what had to be done. Success met me at every turn.
Most of the time this served me well. People were impressed with my joy and self-confidence and understood that if I didn’t know what to do the first time, I would persist until I found a way. I didn’t see the bumps in the road as failures or signs of my inadequacy. I would correct and continue without hesitation.
As I got older, I started seeing the bumps in the road as dangerous hazards. I slowed my pace and gave my decisions more reflection, counting this as maturity. This accounting began to weigh me down. The upward spiral of my youth took a turn and started to a downward spiral. When I failed at anything on any level, I would use this as evidence that I was going in the wrong direction and would stop dead in my tracks. This broke my momentum and stagnation would set in. With stagnation came the most flagrant evidence and sense of failure. The pain of this feeling got me stuck. I was a deer in the headlights. A deer who just stands in the headlights will eventually get run over. If he tries to run, he has at least a 50% chance of surviving and moving on.
There is no guarantee in life that we will not be run over.
In fact, death is the only guarantee.
No matter what we do, whether we are glaringly successful or pitifully miserable, the ending will be the same. This body will die.
There is birth and then there is death.
Being human and having the ability to think abstractly is everything that happens in between.
I have known days that were so bright that it felt like time stood still and there was nothing I couldn’t do. Failure was impossible.
I have known days that were so dark that I was paralyzed, one of the living dead. Failure was a cold hard fact.
But like day follows night, nothing is permanent. Not the sunshine any more than the darkest night. But when we focus on knowing the sun will rise again, we can weather the storm and be ready to fly. When we focus on the darkness, our wings become drenched and heavy and it’s hard to get off the ground.
The more we focus on the sun, the easier it becomes to be optimistic.
The more we focus on the darkness, the harder it seems to be to get unstuck.
These patterns become part of our belief system and our belief system, whether it is negative or positive, is the foundation of our potential.
Repetition creates the patterns in our brain that smooth out the neural pathways to everything we experience. The more often we experience something, the faster and easier it becomes to achieve that sensation.
“He who has shall have even more. He who has not shall lose even what he has.”
This is a description of a pattern, it is not a law describing who you are at any given moment.
This maxim describes not where you stand but the direction in which you are moving.
This is important to understand because if you see it as a description of who you are, there would be no point in trying to ever succeed at anything again since the ending would have already been determined. Many people get stuck here.
This is the foundation of desperation.
If, instead, you see this maxim as a description of the direction in which you are headed, you can change direction at any time, no matter how high or low you feel you are on the ladder of success in your life.
This is the foundation of hope.
When you see the path of your life as a ladder with a bottom and a top, it is hard to live in the present. You constantly measure your success in altitude when really, success is measured in attitude.
Altitude is an illusion that is always either too high or too low. Attitude is a direction of intention.
There are fluctuations in every life. Highs and lows. When you live in the present, you no longer measure your successes and failures on a finite vertical scale, but you see that life is a horizontal circle with seasons.
Just like in nature, there is a season for planting seeds, there is a season for working in the fields, there is a season for harvesting, and there is a season for resting and planning.
The darkness of winter is actually an integral and necessary part of this cycle of life.
Autumn is a glorious time of enjoying the fruits of your labors. But like the other seasons, it does not last forever. The greatest harvest is followed by the cold dark winter. But even the cold and forbidding snows bear a promise of hope in the life-giving waters they store. It is a time of recovery and of formulating dreams.
When the warmth of spring arrives, the life-giving waters will be released into the fertile soil in which we plant our seeds. Even though it may be some time before those seeds germinate and tiny sprouts appear above the earth, we have faith and know our seeds will grow.
The seeds we plant determine what will grow.
A good farmer knows what seeds are best to plant in his particular kind of soil.