I never dreamed I would write a piece extolling the virtues of failure, but it’s on my mind today.
I just spent three hours moving a huge antique secretary from one
end of my house to the other. This big ole wooly mammoth just won’t fit in my tiny cottage. When it arrived at its new home, it looked horrible and I had to move it back to its original spot. If it didn’t have such sentimental value, I would move it to the curb.
This exercise in futility had some value because it taught me what doesn’t work! It also got me thinking about all my other failures which ultimately worked to my good, though I couldn’t see it at the time: A marriage that didn’t stick; several career moves that never really provided the creative outlet I craved, etc. etc. ad nausea.
I want a “do-over,” I’m thinking. Then it dawned on me that we get a do-over every day of our lives. We’re all terrified of failing, but as one of my favorite writers, Sarah Ban Breathnach says “Failure stretches us beyond our conscious capacity…and presents us with a generous gift – the worst thing that can happen isn’t failing. It’s never having tried.”
I was once married to a realtor. He taught me a valuable lesson I never forgot. He read somewhere that realtors only make one sale for every seven prospects. He celebrated every time he didn’t make a sale because it moved him that much closer to the prize.
Today celebrate your failures and prepare to savor the one good idea that succeeds. I wonder….would that ole secretary fit in my bathroom? I think I’ll give it a try.
p.s. – In case you’re wondering about my career failures – I started off my professional life as a banker. Never could get the hang of figuring percentages. Nuff said.
Next, I went into politics as a REPUBLICAN in Mississippi. We met in a phone booth. It took me two years to realize I wasn’t suited for that gig. Next came the Hospitality Industry and things began looking up. That led me back to journalism which is what I wanted to pursue all along. It took me 35 years to get there and I’ve yet to stop dangling my participles.