Monday, December 21, 2009

I often stumble, and you're going to hear about it.

One thing that frustrates me about most of the blogs I follow or come across is the lack of discussion about failure. People tell me to take big risks and get big rewards, but what about the people who risk a lot and then fail?

I’m trying to convince myself that I just miss the days when my bloggers talked about failure; I’m reading their blog because they HAVE succeeded, and I just didn’t know about them back when they were failing and bitching and moaning about it.

But I’m not really all that convinced. For all the stuff people try every day there must be a lot of failure going unreported. An EPIDEMIC perhaps.

Maybe as long as you are learning from your experiences, you can never fail. That statement seems feel-good enough to fly with, but I honestly don’t think so. I fail every day at losing weight when I skip breakfast even though I know I shouldn’t, reheat two slices of pizza for lunch, have nachos for dinner, and don’t go to the gym. But then, it’s not like that’s IT FOREVER. There’s always tomorrow.

That’s it: optimism is reason failure is so underreported. People don’t ever say I failed, that’s it. You can always try again.

And the guy who’s training for a marathon but quits after two months learns something about his limitations, or his interests, and talks about that instead. And the guy who picks up and moves cross country in what turns out to be a mistake writes instead about weird funny things that happen to him on the train every morning and proves one can appreciate the fun in life when things, on the whole, suck.

And really, if someone is talking a lot about their failures without the optimistic try-again attitude or a positive lesson form the experience, then they are just whiners.

But this is one of the big reasons I like Penelope Trunk. She has a nice mix of helpful information, funny and exciting life stories, and traumatic, devastating, or just plain sucky things that happen to her. It makes me feel less weird for feeling like I’m stumbling around so often.

As long as you’re smiling, its ok to stumble.

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