I smoked on and off (mainly on) for about 17 years and in those 17 years I quit smoking, at my longest break, for almost 2 years. I say almost because I had the occasional cigarette periodically and discreetly. I probably “quit” smoking at least a dozen times during those years only to fall short and end up right back there again.
Reflecting on my life to this point I realize I have failed a lot of times at a lot of things. My failures undoubtedly stack up to a much larger percent of my total score than my successes. Does that sound familiar to you? Does your score card stack up like mine? Maybe this article is not for you, or maybe you are still trying to have honest conversations with yourself. No judgment, it’s hard to do. We generally aren’t really fooling anyone but ourselves but keeping up the image of ourselves in our own mind is important to us.
Failure is the great equalizer, second only to death. It doesn’t respect anyone or anything. It is not determined by age, creed, color, sex, income, or demographic. It affects all people and if you let it, it will become the bars of your own prison.
Failures pile up into invisible walls that tell us we are no good, we are losers, and we are worthless. Why would you even try, you will fail again; you always fail. We stand paralyzed by our own past failures and succumb to the pressure to give up before we start. We become still and wither in our own self-loathing as we believe the lies that failure tells us. Or do you?
You are here now reading this.
You are looking into The Fallible Man lifestyle, maybe this is not you. If you are shackled by past failures, then keep reading. I need you to hear these words, I want you to say them out loud to yourself.
“I forgive myself for my past failures and I am not a prisoner of my past failures. I have a future and I am worthy of it.”
Failure is a King, but it is a King that deals out of either hand, you just have to choose which hand you receive from. Let me show you.
When a reporter asked Thomas Edison, "How did it feel to fail 1,000 times?" Edison replied, "I didn't fail 1,000 times. The light bulb was an invention with 1,000 steps."
Albert Einstein did not speak until he was 4-years-old and did not read until he was 7. His parents thought he was "sub-normal," and one of his teachers described him as "mentally slow, unsociable, and adrift forever in foolish dreams." He was expelled from school and was refused admittance to the Zurich Polytechnic School. He did eventually learn to speak and read. Even to do a little math.
Walt Disney was fired by a newspaper editor because "he lacked imagination and had no good ideas." He went bankrupt several times before he built Disneyland. In fact, the proposed park was rejected by the city of Anaheim on the grounds that it would only attract riffraff.
Twelve publishers rejected J.K. Rowling's book about a boy wizard before a small London house picked up Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone.
Is that enough, are you starting to hear the message and understand how the King hands out its favor?
"Only those who dare to fail greatly can achieve greatly."
~ Robert F. Kennedy
Failure is the King of all teachers, without it you cannot truly learn anything of great value. If you read a set of instructions and it works, then all you have gained is the knowledge that instructions work. You do not know why they work, how they work or how the whole process works. You only know that the instructions successfully fulfilled their promise. I could fill this entire post with nothing but quotes by some of the most notable people in history. Names you know from history to names you hear on a regular basis now all singing the praise of failure.
To fail you must reach past your own limitations and dare to try something new, different or ambitious. If you fail you have merely learned that that is not the correct way to go about your goal, the only time that it is wasted is if you choose not to heed the new knowledge you have gained.
The people whose names you know from fame and achievement were obsessed with their idea, or passion. Harry Potter is celebrated as one of the great fiction series of the 21st century. It is 4,244 pages, 7 books, 8 movies and a theme park at Universal Studios, not counting the spin offs, the stage production or associated add on books. Twelve publishers missed solid gold (don’t you wonder how many of them are still kicking themselves?) that has impacted multiple generations and made millions of dollars. J.K. Rowling didn’t quit because of her failures even when she was penniless; she was obsessed and we are all grateful.
Failure teaches you how to do it better, it makes you better, it refines your ideas and makes you smarter. You are better as long as you heed the lessons learned and don’t quit. That part is important, you lose if you quit.
A little over 6 1/2 years ago I finally quit smoking for what I intend to be the very last time. I don’t want to ever go back to that dependence in my life. My wife was always supportive of me quitting as she despises the habit and was willing to do whatever I needed help with if I asked. She had always been willing, but I had never asked.
I had to be honest with myself and evaluate the many reasons I had failed before. Once I started building my list of issues, I started making changes. The first and biggest was that I had never really wanted to quit. I enjoyed smoking, or at least believed I did and had only ever quit for other people at that point. With a toddler and an infant, who I never smoked anywhere near or around ever, I found a reason. My health became paramount as I was now responsible to be their father for years to come. I had to be healthy and around to be a father. I found my reason to want to quit. Then I started systematically fixing other roadblocks. It was hard, I have failed many times. I also knew all the reasons I failed before and what to avoid and what worked for me.
Failure can be suffocating. Build a base to stand on, try my 3x3 Pillars podcast to help you find a foundation. Having a solid foundation is critical to success.
Hail to the King, it brings knowledge for those who would learn and grow.
Thanks for joining me.
The Fallible Man
Be better tomorrow because of what you do today!