Finding a Way and Embracing Failure

Aut viam inveniam aut facial.
I will either find a way or I will make one.

I snagged that quote off this post on Kristen Lamb’s blog back in August. I meant to write about it back then, but it slipped through the cracks. I had made a note about how timely it was for me. I have no memory of why, exactly, that was the case. After reading it again, it doesn’t matter. It’s still timely, still resonates, and is still something I should have shared for all the rest of you to go read.

One of my favorite parts of the post is this bit, which can be applied to every aspect of life, not just in regards to writing:

Healthy Relationship with Failure—I have said this many times, If we aren’t failing, then we aren’t doing anything interesting. Expect failure. Better yet, embrace failure.

Scientists once tried to do a biome experiment where all the plants lived in a perfect world. There was the perfect amount of water, sunlight, and nutrients. Sealed beneath the benevolent dome, there were no droughts, no diseases, no thunderstorms, no high winds, and no floods.

They expected the trees in the bio dome to be much healthier and grow much taller than those poor trees exposed to the outside world. But, to their astonishment, the trees never grew very tall. In fact, they looked downright pathetic, whereas the trees in the hard, cruel outside world grew far taller, were more resistant to disease and were, overall, much healthier.

Baffled, the scientists investigated, and they discovered that, every time a tree faced drought, it dug its roots in deeper. When it experienced disease, it developed resistance. When wind broke off branches, the trees in the outside world were forced to channel more nutrients to reinforce the affected areas. This made them stronger…so they grew taller.

The sheltered trees had never been tested, thus they never had to become stronger. Sadly, they never grew to their full potential.

Failures=storms. Embrace the storms. They make you grow.

Honestly, I’ve never really been afraid of failure. It’s fairly easy to do, and there are no expectations. Heck, you don’t even have to try to fail. Success, now that’s the scary bugger. There’s pressure when you succeed. Pressure to keep succeeding, to outdo prior efforts, to get to the top and hold ground. Yeah. There’s not a whole lot of pressure in failing.

Now, wait, don’t go getting the idea I’m condoning purposefully being a failure. Failing, when you’ve actually tried to succeed, that’s where the pain comes in. Those are the storms that either knock you flat, or make you stronger. Sometimes they do a little bit of both. But if we don’t fail, how can we grow? If we don’t test ourselves, how do we know how we measure up?

For me, 2013 is going to be all about doing and trying. Which will invarialby mean it will also be about failure. I’m okay with that.



9 responses

  1. I really needed an inspirational post, and — voila! — here it is. Thank you, Kathi, and Happy New Year. I get the feeling yours will be a good one.

    January 4, 2013 at 6:28 am

  2. It’s the sort of talk that makes those storms of life feel a bit more bearable. Wishing you all the best for 2013!

    January 4, 2013 at 3:10 pm

    • Likewise! It is going to be a great year for all. 🙂

      January 7, 2013 at 3:33 pm

  3. Great post. 🙂 Reminds me of another quote I recently came across: “A smooth sea never made a skillful sailor.”

    January 4, 2013 at 3:59 pm

    • Very good quote. And so very true.

      January 7, 2013 at 3:32 pm

  4. I love this post and that info about the science experiment. I look at this the same way I look at quitting. We never know what we’re capable of if we quit.

    January 7, 2013 at 4:49 am

  5. A poignant post. As writers (and indeed in all parts of our lives) we are constantly comparing ourselves to each other, trying to measure what success is to others and comparing what we have achieved and whether it measures up. We all need to learn to let go of any expectations and live and work the way that feels right and makes us happy. I’m trying my hardest to do that this year!. Happy 2013!

    January 11, 2013 at 5:45 am

    • Thanks for stopping by, Alison. I agree, trying to “keep up with the Jonses” is a waste of time and energy. In the long run, what’s it matter? There will always be someone better, bigger, faster, richer. Learning too accept that, and be happy with striving to be what we can be, is a tough task. Especially for the more competitive souls among us. 😉

      January 11, 2013 at 5:59 am

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