Today I talk about perspective. I find that very fitting for a day like today. Whether you are overjoyed or lost for words, perspective can help to center your reality.
How do you deal with being the one that isn’t chosen?
When I was in the sixth grade I thought that I was going to be one of the five “starters” on the basketball team. When I wasn’t chosen I remember feeling like the world had collapsed; and, as I’m sure my mom can attest, it wasn’t an easy couple of days. I’m hoping that my mom has since forgiven me for those tantrums. It couldn’t have been easy managing, what probably seemed to my mom, a minor issue.
Parents have that ability. They (mostly) know what is and isn’t a big deal. Of course, you can’t believe them when they tell you “It isn’t the end of the world” or, my dad’s personal favorite, “I’ve lived it son.” You just cannot begin to consider the fact that they could actually have a clue about the situation you’re dealing with. That “Do you want to be my girlfriend? Circle yes or no” note that the teacher happened to intercept and read aloud to the ENTIRE class is a momentously – giant – super – awful – terribly big deal. Come on mom, get with the picture.
I mean, what even do adults know in the first place? In your 12-year-old mind not being a starter on the basketball team is a massive disappointment. And why wouldn’t it be? This is what you’ve dreamt about since you started playing as a little kid. County championships, game winning shots, and cheerleaders with your number on their cheek. It’s almost impossible for you to think beyond this single year in your life. Little do we know, as 12 year olds, that the inescapable reality of failure remains constant until the day we die.
As we grow up we will be faced with obstacles that, in the moment, seem to be as imperative as our sixth grade love notes gone wrong. You might struggle in school and question your future. You might have to deal with the loss of a parent and suddenly shoulder responsibility that no kid should have to take on. You might be in love with a person who doesn’t love you back and think that you just cannot possibly live without this person. Life might give it to you worse; or life might make things easier. But regardless, the unwavering truth remains – the obstacles will come.
It doesn’t matter if it’s basketball, school, career, love, or life and death; things cannot always go your way. This is an absolute reality that has withstood the sands of time.
Thomas Edison, Michael Jordan, and Sylvester Stallone (as Rocky Balboa) are all people who commonly come to mind when thinking of experts in failure: unbelievably successful individuals, who also had unbelievable failures. Edison famously failed 1,000 times before creating a successful light bulb. Jordan missed more than 12,000 shots in his career. And Stallone’s “Italian Stallion”, who had a number of losses himself, absolutely summed failure up perfectly,
“It ain’t about how hard you can hit, It’s about how hard you can get hit and keep going.”
Ultimately, I think that what separates the successful men and women from the common isn’t their acceptance of failure — contrary to it actually — I believe what separates the successful men and women from the common is their embrace of failure; their welcoming of the unknown, and their willingness to wake up in the morning with the same hope and spirit every day. Successful people don’t concern themselves with the anxiety that they might fall short. They already know failure is coming.
Psalm 73:26 says “My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.”
This bible verse applies to you whether you believe in God or not. For the truly successful people realize the possibility does exist that they will fall short, but also hold strongly within their heart their passion, faith, and goals that ensure their next victory is just around the corner.
Nobody can adopt an attitude, or a lifestyle in a day and I’m not suggesting you do that. It takes hundreds – thousands – of hours to build habits that lead to real change. But if we can all actively focus on having a little more perspective for the failures in our lives, we can immediately become happier, more complete people. As we continue to develop, this perspective will only improve; leading to not just an acceptance of failure, but an outright embrace.
I’ll leave you with one last quote to think about throughout the end of the week.
“Win as if you were used to it, lose as if you enjoyed it for a change”
-Ralph Waldo Emerson