So, it’s mid-January, and right about now is when all those New Year’s resolutions you made two weeks ago start to fade into oblivion—along with what little money you had left in your bank account after Christmas. Personally, I don’t make New Year’s resolutions. I think they’re just one more way of setting myself up for failure, and believe me when I tell you, if there’s anything I have plenty of—it’s failure.
Failure generally make us feel worthless and shitty, but the older I get, the more respect I have for the education that comes along with it. Think about it—if failure didn’t exist we would all walk around acting a tad too big for our britches, and let’s face it, people like that are assholes. You know the type, they’re the ones who make those disgustingly-bragging posts on Facebook about all the cool stuff they have and how great their life is. Deep down you know it’s all just bullshit, but somehow they manage to get nine hundred likes while simultaneously making you puke in your mouth from pure jealousy because, clearly, they’ve never failed at anything. (Truthfully, they probably have failed, but not enough to make them realize the importance of modesty.) Without failure, we would all be that kind of asshole and none of us would work harder to be better than we are right now.
You see, if there was no fear of failing at anything, then what point would there be in actually trying anything? Accomplishment walks hand in hand with failure, and even though they’re about as alike as me and say, Donald Trump, one needs the other in order to succeed. As hard as it is to admit sometimes, both sides need to give, take and ultimately grow as a team before progress is realized. In that painful process, failure teaches us how small we are—and that’s a good thing because this ginormous world is packed full of people who are prettier, smarter and infinitely more talented than we are, and the sooner we accept that, the more endurance we’ll have when running in this race called life.
Sure, there’s things I could pledge to do this year that might make me feel like a better human being. But instead of trying to be a better human, I think it’s generally just a better idea to actually be one, and I don’t need to make false promises to myself to do that. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not knocking anyone who makes resolutions, because maybe that works for them. But, for me, instead of setting goals I know I’ll never attain (like cutting down on my cursing, being on time for pretty much anything, exercising and sleeping more, eating better, and not spending so much money on Amazon or at Half Price Books), instead I decided to take note of how I routinely fail and what that ultimately teaches me.
For instance …
- I’ll never be the woman who looks at herself in the mirror and says, “Damn, girl, you’re rocking it!” I fail to say this because what I see in the mirror is a woman whose teeth are a little too big, her nose is a little too long, and currently she’s in serious need of an eyebrow wax. But, I also know that by failing to see the woman who “rocks it,” I’ll also never be the woman who doesn’t empathize with the insecurities and challenges that most women face every day. We’re women, after all, and we’re in this shit together.
- I’ll never be the parent who says, “I’m doing a super awesome job and my kid is better than your kid.” I’ll never say this because I know I’m a total hot mess failure and I totally suck at this gig called parenthood. However, though my patience (and sometimes my temper) runs short where my daughter is concerned, the amount of love I have for her never does. I not only say it, but I show it, and that’s what kids sometimes need the most. Plus, I’m sure by witnessing all my ridiculous failures—like forgetting to send her to school with a permission slip, sometimes lunch, or her gym shoes; while routinely failing at properly braiding her hair (though I’m getting better), as an adult she’ll be well equipped to roll with the punches life deals her.
- I’ll never be an employee who takes total credit for a job well done, or one who thrives for recognition. I’ve come to realize that this is one of those fails that can sometimes hinder the chances of moving ahead in my professional life. But, it’s not so much a personal fail as it is a personal belief. Even if I did deserve credit for something, I’m a firm believer that when you belong to a team no one deserves the sole credit for accomplishing a goal, and the same rule applies for failing to achieve one.
- I’ll never be the writer who thinks she’s perfect. This is one area where I will always fail, and I’m glad I do. Any writer or creative person who is totally satisfied with their work is probably dead inside, and thankfully, I’ve yet to meet one like that. When it came to his writing, Ernest Hemingway once said, “We are all apprentices in a craft where no one ever becomes a master.” That statement can apply to just about every facet of life, and who can argue with that?
I could go on and on about all the ways I fail every day in ways both big and small, but I think you get the idea here.
Another way I routinely fail is in giving good advice, but I will say this—when it comes to failure, you can let it teach you how to quit, or you can learn how to overcome it and keep going, even when it’s hard. Nothing worth achieving has ever been accomplished without failure—unless you happen to be one of the Facebook assholes I mentioned above. Personally, I prefer to be the person who isn’t afraid to look like an asshole while trying and failing at something six hundred times rather than being the asshole who doesn’t know the difference between looking like an asshole, or being one. Just saying.
Carry on, and thank you for reading!