Monday, April 25, 2005


"They fail, and they alone, who have not striven." - Thomas Bailey Aldrich

One thing young people don’t realize, middle-aged people don’t realize and old people don’t realize is something I just realized and I want to tell you about it. What I realized is that failures can lead to success.

It was a small thing that led to this discovery. I was crocheting a hat. The work was gaily progressing when I discovered I could not understand the instructions. I raveled and re-crocheted and raveled and re-crocheted again. I was making a sun-hat for daughter out of cotton yarn.

Finally in disgust, I scrapped the pattern and just continued. I also scrapped the idea of giving this FAILED PROJECT to daughter for her birthday. Instead I rushed into town and bought her a gift. Later I showed daughter my failure. She adored it. Absolutely loved it. Danced around the room ecstatically with glee with her new hat on. And that was the moment of realization and the moment when I vowed to clean up the past of every day that I spend being remorseful about failures.

When it comes to projects on a grander scale than crocheting hats, the old saying is whatever you want out of life, if you do one small thing every day towards achieving that goal, you will achieve it. And I believe that is probably true. But I don’t hear any speakers of wit and wisdom telling us how to cope with our internal bitterness when we fail. I don’t hear any suggestions on how we should cope with the huge disappointments that plague our minds if through ill health, fate, insufficient money, physical circumstances, or lack of self-discipline or wisdom, we simply cannot do what it was we set out in our hearts to do. If I asked you, right now, to write me a list of all your failures in your lifetime, and if two thousand individuals participated in this effort, the lists would be so long the Web would probably crash and burn.

Since childhood, I swear I have roughly spent eighteen per cent of everyday feeling remorseful because of something I failed at. Something I wanted to do but didn’t do. Dreams and schemes I had that I never managed to accomplish. Things connecting to lifestyle, to career, or healthy living.

So now, if I take eighteen percent of every day and multiply it by more than forty years, the total is a mighty big chunk of my life that was less than pleasant. That is a lot of time out my existence to kick myself in the butt, lash my own back, slap my own forehead, and jab myself in the gut. All because when I came to a fork in the road, I occasionally made a turn to the left when I should have turned to the right.

So with the failed crocheted hat that turned out to be a roaring success, things are going to change. I do not intend to let myself continue to be robbed of eighteen percent of every day. And why should I, when that eighteen per cent keeps compounding.

I could give you many examples to prove this point if I wasn’t so handicapped by society’s way of thinking, namely that success and failure belong at opposite ends of the spectrum, and never the twain shall meet. The crochet experience has freed my mind to ‘think outside the box’ and now I see success inherent in my failures.

From now on one hundred per cent of each day is for optimistic living and eighteen per cent of each day is no longer up for grabs.

Note: There is an odd phenomena going on in Blog Space right now that may be connected to weather, ocean tides, alignment of solar bodies, or a biological urge connected to a spring-cleaning or soul-purging philosophy. Blogs are normally about day-to-day interactions or observations of others. But now I find an unprecedented numbers of bloggers beating themselves up for ‘failing’. If you are one of these, this blog is to provide you with a painless therapeutic cure.


Blogger RP said...

Thanks for the "cure" and the good advice. I'll take two! :)

9:57 AM  

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