Motivational paraphernalia (oh my gracious that word has an r in it… I failed to spell it correctly and gave up and used spell check) and posters are everywhere. There’s no shortage of “never give up” type content popping up to remind us to keep our eye on the prize.
Here is just a selection of the motivational and inspirational stuff I found in a quick Google search:
But today, I just wanted to say, I think it is okay, neigh absolutely necessary to give up, admit defeat, or cut your losses from time to time. Don’t make it a mantra or anything. And it is probably best to try and succeed in stuff you set out to do, but nobody wins at everything, and that’s okay.
We are a society that glorifies busy. Busy can end in a jumbled mind, home, head and heart and any one of us is capable of filling up time and running around being magnificently busy. Does it make us better people? Probably not. Does it impress our friends and loved ones? Probably not. If anything, it might exhaust, confound or annoy them. In extreme cases it will worry those around you if you are juggling too many balls and teetering terrifically close to breaking point.
Are we motivated to do it and push ourselves to the absolute brink by silly and unattainable ideals of success? Probably.
Why can’t we just be enough? Why do we strive to be more, do more, gain more, etc.?
I’m not trying to say gym bunnies should retire their trainers and take up residence in front of a screen somewhere. I’m not saying that A students should stop striving. I’m not saying that career women juggling a family should (or could for that matter) trade in the kids or the calendar or vice versa, and just focus on one thing for a while. I think I just recently figured out that frequently, the stuff we think matters, probably doesn’t matter as much as we think it does.
So many words. Another failing, I often fail in attempts to be succinct. Just saying.
Where was I?
There are things people do out of necessity. Most people work to earn money to keep the wolf from the door and build a more comfortable life than traditional unemployment would afford. Many people are on a health kick and buffing up as a symptom of some sort of health issue or scare. Some supermom types do what they do because their kids have special needs ranging from diet, to learning or behaviourial or developmental. Keeping abreast of diet and activities for the kids to afford them the best possible chances at contentment is something that some super parents take very seriously to their great credit. Other people strive to keep their marriages or relationships thriving with date nights, romance, public displays of affection.
Other things are done for the Love of it or out of habit. My grandfather keeps the most amazing garden. He feeds half his neighbourhood and drops of fresh food to the foodbank. He preserves enough for himself and countless other people every year. He adores being outside. He is so proud of his garden and he is also a product of the great depression, where, if you don’t grow it, keep it or take care of it, you will go hungry and do without. I live in the most amazing growing climate and I have land I could be cultivating, yet even our lawn is now probably long enough to be considered hay, and my citrus trees are sad to say the least. Sigh.
There have always been things I do not prioritize. I am not houseproud. My children are probably a bit more free-range than most. I don’t often watch my language except online. I am more than just cheerfully chubby right now (tipping the scales at an impressive 69Kg). And my most recent failure is the failure to launch when it comes to running my own business. In some ways it is doing really well, but I cannot give it the time or attention it deserves, so that’s getting put practically to bed. I’ve also been taken for too many rides by too many people, and have come to the less than pleasant conclusion that I cannot physically, mentally, emotionally or financially keep going the way I have been. I’m a softie and a sucker. Always have been. Which makes the reality of the business world a minefield I am not currently willing to negotiate.
One day, when I don’t have a house full of children and several dozen other projects on the go, I will re-evaluate the whole thing. But for now, I am admitting defeat and just barely keeping a toe in the water.
So I’ll add this to my impressive resume of failures. A couple of years ago I dropped out of my post-grad study. Turned out to be a fairly good decision. I’ve walked away from people, projects, and plans for various reasons. I’ve managed or been involved in countless failed projects and campaigns. I’ve started things and never finished them more times than I’d ever successfully be able to recount.
And you know what.
I’m still here, and oh my word, I have done some amazing things as well.
So I’ll do what I do and you do what you do, and neither of us should give a good gosh darn what other people think. Obviously, we should try not to let people down and we should all meet commitments we have made. But there comes a point when it is perfectly alright, if not necessary to just throw your hands up in the air and say “stuff this, I’m out!” and move on.
Just try and learn something when you do, and you’re well ahead.
I know I may be trivializing some stuff. But seriously, I am constantly surprised that the world does not stop turning if I sometimes say no, or can’t do everything I’d like to. And the whole point of this blog is to share my thoughts and experiences with you and hope it helps you in some way.
So all I wanted to say today was, it is okay to only be good at some stuff, and to try and fail and learn at other stuff. That’s it. I’m not trying to be any more deep or philosophical than that.
Have a good day and don’t be afraid to give some stuff away.
2 thoughts on “Failure Actually is an Option, it Turns Out…”
If I’ve interpreted this post correctly, you’re giving commentary on being busy for busy’s sake rather than being busy in order to achieve some kind of end goal? (warning: shameless plug) I posted something about workload in regards to learning/teaching music http://glennmccord.wordpress.com/2013/03/17/194/ where I had a student that did so many extra curricular activities, he basically became mediocre at many of them and many he didn’t even enjoy.
In regards to writing software, the phrase “just ship it” is nothing to do with reckless code quality but all about achieving the actual goal of selling/providing something to the customer. But then, that raises the questions of what one actually wants to achieve? Some people prefer exploratory research or projects that are open ended; a project like a garden that evolves over time seems like one of those. I don’t really like using the word goals, but really it’s all about determine one really wants to achieve in the constraints of their life (figuring out if those constraints are even justified is another discussion entirely).
Personally, I’ve been trying to learn Spanish for ages now but have been to a Spanish speaking country only once. I plan to do so again but in the interim I play around with Spanish word games on the mobile so as to not forget too much. Then there are the multitude of personal software projects I’d like to do but decided to pick just one and make a game I’ve been meaning to do for years. Will it get completed? Time will tell but a little bit every day and it will be done, yes? Then I go to the gym and do some other miscellaneous sporting activities just to keep the mind sane. Does this make me busy? Probably, but I have fun doing it.
Oh, I have so much to share but I’ll leave it there.
You should show the kids how to prune the fruit trees, maybe they’ll end up doing the lawns too 🙂
That was fabulous… I’m going to go read that blog right now!