All my life I’ve been hearing this phrase – never give up. never, never, never, never, never, ever give up. I have read it and it thought – very true… we should never give up. Maybe I’d give a little smile at the positive thought. Maybe I’d resolve to never give up for now on. In the future. Maybe I’d feel a fleeting momentary happiness that I’m okay, when I’d read that Thomas Edison was called ‘too stupid’ by his teachers, and that he failed 10 000 times before finally succeeding. I’d feel motivated when I read that R.H. Macy opened 7 stores and failed before his store caught on. I’d be motivated, encouraged, happy. And then I’d get on with my day.
About 2.5 years ago I quit my high paying cushy job because I hated it. It was too stressful and the environment wasn’t supportive but extremely competitive. Also, I didn’t love my role and wanted to switch. After a few months break I decided to apply for my new role. I went for an interview, did fairly badly. I knew that. The interviewer asked me a question I didn’t know the answer of. I asked the interviewer to tell me how to solve the problem, and he did tell me. That was wonderful. I learned from him. I practiced the solution at home and became comfortable with that problem. And that kind of problem.
That’s when it dawned on me in a very strong way. I need to not give up! Even though it was disappointing that I didn’t get through, even though it hurt, even though I wallowed in self-pity for a bit, I realized something. If I don’t try, I’ll definitely not get it. Because I tried, I learned something. So in the next interview, I’ll know a little better.
I went through 9 interviews before I finally got my dream job. It turned out not to be my dream job after all, but I’m getting ahead of myself. At that time, that’s what I wanted. Every time I was rejected I was dejected. I took some time to pull myself out of it. And I did! Now when I think about it, I’m more proud of pulling myself out of it than of getting the job! Because that is a skill I learned for life. It’s a very big example, looking for a job and not giving up. But it paved the way for the littler things in life that I keep giving up on, often not even realizing that I’ve given up on it.
That experience gave me a strong, fresh insight on failure. I love failure! It may sound silly, but failure means that I’m trying! I’m taking action, I learning, I’m moving! I know people who are so afraid of failure they go through their lives not taking any risks. It is debilitating. I know some people who are amazing at trying, but eventually get dejected and give up. I sympathize with them, deeply. I understand how it hurts. In the end, though, I admire them for having tried. I admire them in the same way as those who have succeeded. And I will continue to admire them if they keep trying.
I decided to bring this revolutionary lesson into the smaller things in life too. Once I learned that failure is good, it helped me live my life in a better way. Of course I’m still deeply saddened when I fail. But I understand, on a deep level, that I have to keep trying.
Some things I decided to keep trying with.
1. Gardening. I’ve had terrible results with gardening. This year I planted a ton of seeds. I hope they’ll work. If the seeds don’t germinate, I’ll buy seedlings. But I’ll keep trying. I’m sure I’ll get something out of it.
2. I tried this app called PaperKarma to get rid of junk snail mail. I’ve gone into more detail in this post.
3. Making my own shampoo. I tried using clay to wash my hair. That didn’t work. I’m now trying to use something else. I’ll add the recipe if it works!
4. Talking in my Passion Search class. I’m doing a course to find my passion, since I’ve now quit my job again, after a little over a year of working. We are supposed to talk a lot in the class, about ourselves, to give others feedback, etc. It’s a great class, and I love my classmates. I find it very difficult to talk in groups, however, especially with strangers. I made it a point to talk, though. I think I talked a little too much. No matter how stupid I thought my thought was, I said it. And now, I’m much more comfortable talking in the group. The sound of my own voice doesn’t feel weird. Of course, it’s because I know the people better too now. But I feel like a part of the group because I forced myself to talk.
In short, failure is great. I failed to run 4 miles continuously the first time I tried. But I did after a few tries! And then I failed with the 5 mile run. But then I ran those 5 miles! I’m training for a half marathon in June, and I worry that I won’t be able to complete the training on time, since I’m going slow. But then I keep telling myself – I’m going to be sooo much better in June than I am now! So what if I can’t complete the half marathon! There are many of them happening throughout the year! The point is to keep training, at whatever pace my body allows me to. And keep running. Eventually I’ll do it. Maybe later rather than sooner. But I’ll do it. And that’ll be so much better than not doing it! It’ll be a big win, whenever it happens!