Oooh, this is a good prompt! Defining success, huh?
Okay, I’m going to say something controversial here – success is a trap!
There, I have said it.
We talk a lot about successes. We write evocative essays, books, and even make movies out of successful people. We celebrate them, they are part of our daily lingo, we aspire to be like successful people.
And we look down on failures, like poison.
Whenever we encounter a failure, we are at our lowest. We judge ourselves for even our smallest failings. We see failure as a disaster. Failure drives people to some of the worst life outcomes, including taking their own lives. All we look for in our lives are successes, we abhor failures with all my might.
I know this, because I used to be that person.
Not any more.
Coming back to the prompt –
Of late, I have come to believe that failures are worth their value in gold, and I have the books: Think Again, and The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F**k to thank for this change in perspective. We are driven by our tunnel vision towards failure that we miss the perspectives, the groundedness and the life lessons failure teaches us. We celebrate folks who have never failed early on in life, and look down on those that failed early on in life. I actually feel a bit scared for my friends who have only had success streaks in their life, the sad truth is that they may very well be blinded by their wins; they have missed the important perspectives and life lessons that failures offer, and they may very well be set up for failure.
Every failure – from gargantuan losses, to small occurrences teach us something. Real success is to look at them holistically and to learn from them. I have shared my life-story ad-nauseum in my blog, so I will refrain from referring to it again, but the simple fact is that the reason I’m doing OK in life is because I failed early on – and I was lucky enough to look back at my failures and to pick up life lessons. Today, I try my best to make note of even my smallest failings and to learn from them. I may even feel a tad happy (weirdly enough) when I fail, because I know that I have learned something new! And when I keep getting a succession of wins, I feel a bit scared honestly that a huge failure is coming to me (since I’m going to be blinded by the successes and face the risk of losing perspective); but then I calm myself down – it might be the biggest life lesson I could get.
I will stop myself from rambling on at this point, but if there is one thing that you pick up from this blog post, I beg you – please, please embrace your failures, and learn from them. Please don’t fall prey to pitying yourself for your failures, you may be missing out on the key to your life’s biggest successes!
You will thank me later.
This post was written as part of the Bloganuary challenge of WordPress.com. Bloganuary is a month-long challenge, where bloggers are challenged to write a new blog post every day, based on a daily writing prompt. You will need a WordPress.com account to get the prompts, but you can blog on any platform of your choice – OR even journal privately. Oh btw, there is no bloganuary police – so you can pick your own prompts if you wish to!