“Ever Tried. Ever Failed. No Matter…

“Ever Tried. Ever Failed. No Matter. Try Again. Fail Again. Fail BETTER”
-Samuel Beckett

Dr. Beverly NelsonThese days, the cult of success has become the norm. Many people lose focus of what it really means to be successful in life. We tend to think that succeeding in life means having lots of money, a nice car, a beautiful big house, and physical beauty (which has, sadly, become a synonym for health and/or fitness).

The result? People in their thirties, forties or fifties have identity crises because their lives don’t measure up to their expectations and to their notion of what success is. Every other day we learn about a person who is such an example of creativity, kindness and even courage; who, it turns out, doesn’t feel that what they have accomplished in life is valuable. In their own eyes, they have failed at life because they haven’t attained the success that everybody expected from them.

It is so easy to fall for the false notion of success. We may not even realize we have ‘bought’ into it until that moment when it’s too late. Focusing on material and physical success (money, looks, recognition, etc.) is destructive not only for us, but for anyone we influence. Children with parents and/or grandparents who are too focused on a false notion of success will perhaps grow up sharing those views. Life is already a tough challenge for most of us – adding false notions or ideals makes it not only harder, but also disappointing. Life should never become a disappointment.

What can we do to keep focused on the ‘real deal’, the true substance of life? This may sound contradictory, but here it goes: zoom in on your failures.

Every time we experience what we feel or think of as a ‘failure’, we feel devastated – and rightly so. But think about it for a minute now: the pain we experience means that we were passionate about what we wanted to achieve. It means we loved it and cherished it. It means we cared. If you care about anything or anyone, that single fact means you are succeeding in life. It takes guts and a loving heart to care. How many of us can say that we really ‘care’ these days?

We also learn so much each time we fail: we learn what we did right, what we could have done better, and we can grow so much from it. Maybe we won’t have that ‘medal’ to show off – we won’t get the accolades or the popularity. But that all fades in time. We can’t count on the world cheering us forever – the only real thing is what you feel in your heart; and the thoughts you have in your mind, when you are alone, at the end of the day, reminiscing about your experiences.

You are only successful when you fail. The more you fail, the more you can learn, and the better you can live. How about you – are you successful? Drop me a line at docbeverly@aol.com.

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