Monday, 29 September 2008
Thankfully, failure - or what society perceives as failure - has never been something that’s worried me, but I know plenty of people who have lived their entire lives so far without ever taking a risk because they’re sure they wouldn’t be able to accept failure. Either they have extremely high expectations of themselves or they fear that others will ridicule them.
Well guess what? Others DO and WILL ridicule us when we ‘fail’. But those people are generally suffering from low self esteem themselves so therefore love to see others trip up - it makes them feel less of a failure in their own lives and if my ‘failures’ help them in some way then so be it. I can’t change how they view my life so I just have to accept it.
What can be changed is the way we view our own lives and the expectations we have to ourselves. This is something I’ve been thinking about quite a bit recently - mostly because of a friend who always follows the safe path even though she’d love to turn her life around and do something more interesting.
Now I’ve taken a few silly risks in my time , been maybe just a bit too spontaneous, but I’m still here to tell the tale and my life’s pretty good. Sometimes things have worked out the way I’d hoped and sometimes not, but I honestly don’t feel as if I’ve failed at anything.
Failure is just a perception of the outcome of an event but the way I see it, everything we do in life carries a lesson with it and regardless of what I’ve done, my life’s been enriched because of the them. I’ve learned a lot and experienced a lot - life’s been an adventure and isn’t that the way it should be?
I’ve upped sticks and moved loads of times without worrying about my children’s inheritance or the fact that other family members would comment about it being time to put down some roots. I’ve been homeless with three kids and a dog, sleeping in a car, in cabins and in friends’ houses but even that was an adventure and we all learned loads from it. I’ve quit my safe job for something I’d rather be doing and although it didn’t turn out quite as I’d hoped, I learned a whole load from that too. We managed fine, but had to be frugal. Not a hardship, really. I’ve started college courses and quit because they weren’t for me, and even though I was told it’s about time I learned to stick at something, I’d learned stuff I wouldn’t otherwise have known. And why stick at something you’re not enjoying just because others think you should? Life’s too short! It’s funny how those same people forget that I managed to get a B grade in social sciences A level without attending a single class though! A lot of people will always focus on the negative but it’s up to us whether we let it bother us or not.
Even my kids who have, according to others, “been pulled from pillar to post” agree that our life was an adventure - they met a lot of people and did a lot of stuff that most haven’t done. They learned a lot. Lise feels it’s time to settle down, LM wants to continue on the adventure, and Paul… well, he doesn’t care. He’s happy wherever and whatever.
Obviously I’m not advocating jumping off Tower Bridge just to see what it feels like or selling your grandmother’s jewellery in the hope that she won’t notice - things like that can get you into deep trouble and can have an adverse effect on others - but as long as you’ve considered what the possible outcomes are likely to be and nobody’s going to get hurt and you won’t end up behind bars (and I’m not talking pub landlord here), taking a risk can be enriching, educating and incredibly thrilling.
If there’s something you really want to do but don’t dare, all you need to do is weigh up the likely results, ease up on yourself and stop worrying about what others will think. This is YOUR life - not your parents’, your children’s or your friends. Only you know how to live it. Failure really isn't an option simply because it doesn't exist.