1) A short story was rejected from a publishing magazine. (15th rejection in two months)
2) An activity in a lesson I taught didn't go well like I planned.
3) I was turned down for a lucrative student coordinator position at a university.
4) An assignment I turned in for my certification program wasn't up to scratch and I had to redo it...for the third time.
5) I was turned down for a date.
I've enjoyed other failures in my life as well.
6) I've failed to get a book published.
7) I've failed to stay in a long term relationship.
8) I've failed at exercising everyday.
9) I've failed at reading at least one book a month.
10) I've failed to be kind, non-judgmental and considerate in every social interaction with every person.
I am a failure. I have been a failure. I will continue to be a failure. I will lose and I will lose badly. I will have my ego and self-esteem maimed by own shortsightedness and laziness.
I will have dreams crushed under my souls as I try to stumble my way into finding them.
I will never succeed in all things I want to do. Even if I had a thousand years to achieve everything I wanted, I think I would still fall short on certain things.
Failure, is the essence of my life...and the same is true for you.
Even if you've never enjoyed those ten failures I listed, you've failed in your own special ways.
Like me, you've probably been hurt by some failures more than others. Some of these failures have kept you up at night or reduced you to tears...or both.
Like me, you've wasted a lot of time abusing yourself over roads you took and others you didn't take.
Like me, you've probably kicked yourself again when you consciously fail to implement the advice about failure you read in every feel-good article or blogpost. You know the one that usually goes along the lines of...
Yes, dear friends, we are failures; unequivocal failures. Yet I don't want to end with the same platitudes about how 'true failure is giving up' or 'if at first you don't succeed try, try, try again'.
There's nothing wrong of either of those sentiments.
It's just that you and I have heard them far too many times before. I'm not sure at this point hearing those mantras again benefits anyone.
What I don't think we hear or read as often though is this:
Failure is normal and it doesn't have to be our enemy.
There will never be a time when you or I will not have to deal with failure. We will never know a period of our lives where we are not falling short in some way.
We may succeed at some things, we may make many dreams come true after years of enduring doldrums and false starts. Yet with each success will come new challenges and we will fail at some of them.
Failure will always be with us. Yet that is okay because failure in the end is not an enemy unless we make him one. Failure can be our greatest friend.
He's the personal trainer who yells at us during the race but takes the time to point out how we can run better next time.
He's the teacher who checks our work everyday to make sure that we are spelling our sentences correctly.
He's the drill sergeant who breaks you down day after day to your very core so that you can rise again stronger.
You may never be able to love him but I think we can all learn to respect him. So the next time you fail don't hurt yourself or try and attack Mr. Failure for doing his job. Instead reach out with an open palm and give him a firm, professional handshake and a smile. He's been with your first day and he'll be with you to your last and he's the strongest ally you will ever have.