Sunday, August 11, 2013

Failure is Always an Option

I was reminded of a very important lesson this weekend.  It's something I think we all need to learn and be reminded of. 
Don't give up.
Sometimes we are going to hit bumps, we are going to struggle, we are going to get down on ourselves, and sometimes we are going to flat out fail.  And that's OK. 
Losing a battle is not the same as losing the war.  Keep trying, keep pushing forward.  You've never truly failed until you stop trying.  I don't want my kids, or anyone else, to think that it's OK to give up just because things get hard, but I also don't want them to think that winning is everything or that if you don't win you're worthless. 

I've spent this whole summer feeling like I'm last in the pack, desperately fighting to keep up.  There's been a lot going on and some weeks seem to go by in a blink leaving me feeling like I've accomplished nothing except to fall even further behind.  In this whirlwind my writing has taken a back seat.  Even for the blog I feel like I've been phoning it in.  I've been treading water, barely keeping my head from going under.  But you know what?  I'm not sunk, and I'm not going down. 
It is just fine to take a break and catch your breath.  It's even OK to drop a WIP, or whatever you might be doing or working on and put it to rest.  Maybe that project or attempt just wasn't meant to be.  Or perhaps it was only meant to teach you something.  Giving it up may be the only way to move on and try again.

A wise man once told me that education always has a price.  A lot of the time we pay with money or time.  Other times it's with our tears or pride.  Sometimes failing is the price we pay.  I think whatever currency we use to pay for our education we need to take what we learn and be grateful for it.  We can often learn more from our failures than we can from our successes. 

My husband was in his first bike race this weekend.  He has been riding for about a year and a half and loves to ride.  He goes out with a group at least three times during the week and then does a really long ride on Saturdays, usually around 80 or 100 miles.  This race he was in was different than the rides he normally does, and this being his first one, he wasn't sure what to expect.  It turns out the race was harder than he thought it was going to be and he wasn't as prepared as he would have liked.  He ended up pulling out of the race before it was over.  He was really disappointed in himself for not finishing, he felt like he had failed.  I chose to see it differently. I know, I know, that's easy for me to do since I wasn't the one in the race, but sometimes not being directly involved enables one to see the bigger picture (this is why I think it can be a good idea to share your struggles and challenges with a friend).  A year and a half ago when my husband had just started riding he could make it only a few miles.  But he kept at it, getting a little farther or a little faster each time.  He went from barely finishing his first Tour de Cure century ride to being the first to finish this year.  If he had given up after that first ride he never would have had the high and known the excitement of finishing first the next year.  The race this weekend was just another learning experience showing my husband the areas he needs to work on in order to obtain the next goal.  That's not a real failure.  He did his best and gave it his all.  As disappointed as he feels he knows he can't let it defeat him.  He knows that sometimes hitting the lows gives you a better perspective showing you how to succeed. 

No matter what is going on in your life, don't let it stop you, keep going.  Learn what you can and try again.

Never give up.
My husband after finishing first in this year's Tour de Cure


  1. Thank you for this post. This is what I needed to hear today. I've been working on my current WIP for almost three years and I'm still not close to getting where I want it to be. I feel like I failed the story. I don't want to give up on it but maybe I need to let myself fail for now to learn on a new writing project. Maybe my path is just taking a turn that will lead me somewhere I never Imagined I could go.

  2. Nikki, I'm in the same place with my WIP! I think about it all the time, but don't get to it. As for this post, so true!! I don't know where we get the idea that not winning is failure. The best lessons come when we miss the mark a bit. In fact, when we win all the them, we just breed arrogance. The game is not over until we are dead, so we must lose the idea that not accomplishing something the way we dream it to be is negative. It's just another step closer.



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