Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Continuing in the Face of Failure

   I'll be the first to admit that I've failed many times so far in my life. I've failed to maintained relationships I cared about, unnecessarily failed classes in school, failed to think about my actions effecting those around me, failed at starting certain businesses for a plethora of reasons, failed to achieve many of my childhood goals, failed to be the good person my family knew I could be for a long time, failed to ever get on the good side of “luck”, and so far I've failed to find what people describe as true love. Fortunately, as sad and depressing as that all sounds, even with all these failures piled up from the past all it takes is one characteristic to outweigh and surpass them all.... Perseverance.

   I think we'd all like to be able to go back and do things over from time to time but we also know thats just not possible (outside of dreams). We all have to live with the saddled failures, losses, and regrets from the past. Unfortunately, because we are all human there will most likely be more of these in the future as well. For many of us every day brings new challenges that can leave you scratching your head wondering how to put it all together. We learn lessons the hard way, get stabbed in the back, make mistakes, say things we don't mean, and fall in love so fast sometimes it hurts. All of these things can drain you and leave you weary of wading through the incessant stream of problems. The catch 22 is, we have to keep moving or we can easily get swept away in it all. That's where perseverance comes into play and separates who makes it and who doesn't.

   In the memoirs of many successful businesspeople one can find a common trend. Many of them didn't always get it right the first time around! Most of the highly successful self-made people in the world have struggled through many trials and tribulations in their ascension, similar to those that you and I face everyday. They key amongst all of these people is that they didn't give up when they were told that they were crazy, it couldn't be done, or that no one would care if it was. When they failed or faced a setback they scrambled to overcome it and try again. It's the spirit of those people that were discouraged and downtrodden by their peers that allowed them to keep on going and eventually build our society and the world as we know it today.

   The future is impossible to foretell but one thing is guaranteed, it hasn't happened yet. Things may be tough right now but that doesn't mean they are going to stay that way forever. It also doesn't mean that they will automatically get better on their own. Contrary to popular media darlings like “The Secret” and “What the *bleep* do we know?” you can't just wish really hard for good things and then expect them to happen. Seriously, without the inhospitality of rain we couldn't enjoy the tranquility and beauty of flowers right? Well, like many things in nature, it's the same principle in life. I have to remind myself on a daily basis that everything I struggle for and believe in comes at the price of the struggle itself.

   If we want good things in life we have to fight for them. We have to suffer through bad days to get to the ones that make us realize how much life is really worth. We have to make mistakes to find out what the right answers really were. Our trust must be broken to find out how much it really means to us before we give it out freely again. And sadly, sometimes we also have to lose someone we love to realize how precious the others in our life are.

   These are not easy lessons to learn and anyone who tries to sell you happiness based on the fact that they are is simply lying to your face. The easy road to the top is reserved for a select few and the rest of us must work diligently to get there. The most important part in succeeding is that we continue on and keep persevering despite how we feel about it right now. Many of these lessons won't be useful right away and you may not see the bright side but somewhere down the road have faith that you will indeed find it. I can look back throughout my life now and pinpoint exact times, places, experiences, and people that have taught me incredibly valuable lessons at a painful price. When I was in the moment of feeling that pain I was confused and scared and acted accordingly which often leads to failure. These confused actions and failures are my building blocks for what not to do today.

   As I grow older I seem to get a little more rational and a little less reactionary to failure and bad situations. I attempt to understand it for what it is, try to accept it, and look for ways to learn from it and move forward. That doesn't mean that problems don't add up and weigh heavily on me at times. Thats why I write articles like this as a personal outlet. To not only work it out internally and encourage myself, but to relay it to others with the hope that maybe it sheds a little clarity on their own situations or helps them get by with just enough hope. Maybe it's also a little selfish instant gratification of seeing a bright light on a dim day but when someone emails me or messages me and tells me that my words of encouragement helped them to get through their own dark period, it makes it all worth it for me. Not only that, but it motivates me to find the meaning and purpose in my current struggles which is a key part to surviving the onslaught of life with your sanity intact. Dealing with a bunch of meaningless setbacks and failures can be incredibly disheartening and drive you crazy by asking the infamous “Why me?!” question. I've found that in the end, it all means something. The answer to why me is; it's always you because you're the one experiencing it.

   Good, bad, or indifferent our struggles and hardships in life give us the character that makes us unique. Finding a reason to continue to fight these battles is imperative if your goal is to better yourself and make it through life stronger and wiser than those around you. Purpose and meaning in life can come in any shape or form. Love, relationships, children, animals, music, art, hobbies, learning, reading, writing, and (if you're careful) your career or company, can all hold meaning and purpose. Just remember, rarely are you truly alone in your struggle and it could always be worse. No matter how desperate times may seem, or how much you fail, you can always make it better with perseverance and by dedicating yourself to what you love and care about. The pain and heartache IS worth it in the long run, you just gotta hold on and ride out the storm! Don't be afraid of life, embrace every aspect of it! After all is said and done, we're only privileged to experience any given moment once...



  1. You are a godsend, John. Thank you for the boost your article gave me in one of my lower moments. Keep fighting the good fight, never give up hope, and keep kicking butt!

  2. I'm glad that I could help re-inspire you! It comforts me to know that my words help people in a positive way! Thanks for reading and best of luck in your endeavours. If you're getting up, dusting yourself off, and trying again you'll be just fine! Take care!


  3. before i even go to the part of this article where you say

    "when someone emails me or messages me and tells me that my words of encouragement helped them to get through their own dark period, it makes it all worth it for me." i was thinking to myself. wow. i couldnt have read anything more appropriate and helpful, i should thank this guy. and stumble.

    you are so right. and you keep going on about how we must not give up... to me you its depression that i purge myself into if i give up and it just becomes a big dark hole that i get deeper and deeper in. :/ your article is so inspiring! awe.

    i have so much opportunity and i just wanted to be demanding and try to find all teh short term happiness coz i couldnt cope with the struggle of this long term success. :) thank u. almost ruint my life there.

  4. Thank you very much for taking the time to comment and let me know how it inspired you! Its an amazing feeling to be able to reach out virtually and help someone so far away! I only wish I could reach more people and spread the hope that's contained within each of us. The drive to continue and the patience to persevere were already inside you, sometimes they just need to be coaxed to the surface with reassurence and encouraging words. Thanks again for validating my work and giving me a reason to keep going myself! :)