Success: plant growing through the concrete by txpotato

The Failure of the Concrete is the Plant’s Success: The Benefits of Not Succeeding…

As a follow up to my post of the other day (here) I am quite keen to share my latest thoughts on failure and how useful it can be on the path to success. I would go so far as to say that failure is an essential part of success! In other words I don’t think we can succeed, fully and deeply until we have had our fair share of fails.

Why do I say this? Well apart from the fact that all the experts in the field agree with me 😉 I am also reaching my own conclusions quite independently based on my own experience, which has, funnily enough included bags of failure if I’m honest about it! I flunked art school, quit jobs, got the sack from other jobs, failed to complete numerous courses, went a few times to classes and never went back…you name it I’ve ‘failed’ at it. I even sucked at door to door sales…but to be honest it was the most horrendous experience of my life so it was good to fail at that! I’ve not even mentioned the numerous relationships that have gone by the by! Now that was much more painful but I still learnt a lot about myself.

Anyway. My point being, that as a result of trying all these things and somehow finding I lacked the requisite know-how/discipline/organization or personality traits (patience, kindness, understanding, humility et al) I am still here! I didn’t die of shame, (even though I felt it for a while) and that’s the main thing! Sometimes we cling so dearly to a thing we believe we must succeed at, (despite it not feeling good in the slightest) that we entirely miss the point of it all.

Now I’m not suggesting for a minute that we don’t apply ourselves to things or ‘work’ at them but there are things in life that just ain’t our thing. If it is our thing but we don’t yet know it, and we just need more expertise or experience, then dropping it for a while, if needs be, will only serve to show us that it is our thing after all.

If something is a good fit, it will always come back to us in one form or another. Even people we love can remain our friends despite not working on an intimate level if we are open to that…

The beautiful thing about failure is that when we get good at it, it is like an art form in its own right. It becomes a process of letting go, like falling off a log. When we need to let go, it is right to let go, but we don’t because we cling to this fear of ‘the fail’ and unwittingly we arrest our own development.

Our process depends on failure!!!

What I’m suggesting is that we allow our natural tendency to fail at things to guide us towards what we will excel at! I’m sure you know the Thomas Edison story as he tried to invent the light bulb? Well that’s all well and good but do we know how to fail with grace and good feeling…and then carry on? Notice how, unlike Edison I am not denying the ‘failure’ thing. For me it has been more useful to accept it for what it is and move on. But interestingly enough both attitudes can benefit us; I’m just giving an alternative version! Whatever you want to call it…it’s important to carry on! Just try approaching something in a new way or take a new attitude, if it’s your thing that is! I guess the light bulb really was his thing!

The Paradox Strikes…

I didn’t get it for ages. The paradoxical revelation came for me when I started acknowledging that I had failed and that I was all right with that. As I came to terms with my lack of ‘follow through’ it ceased to matter so much and as the skies of self-recrimination cleared, I could finally see that alongside the fails were a whole bunch if successes!

Self-awareness, self-knowing and understanding are some of my best assets now. I know what turns me on and what leaves me cold and I choose to flow with the river of bliss and not the trudge of duty…

By learning about myself I can now control my destiny…more so than ever. If I had doggedly stuck with the first ‘job’ that had come along I’d still be washing dishes in a potato bar….I’m glad I got the sack! I’m glad I quit! I’m glad I didn’t go back.

Now I am following a path of my choosing and learning something exciting everyday! Now that’s what I call success!

Why? Because I am a truth seeking missile

Why is by far the most pertinent, relevant and integral question.

Why?

Ha! Because without it we are unsure. Unsure that what we are doing is the right thing. Unsure of our reasons for the relentless pursuit of excellence despite the hardships. Unsure of the reason for our very existence.

Being unsure about such fundamentals is only going to lead one way. Down. So lets change the program from the ‘how’ of things and free the way for the main man.

Why oh why? We lament. But really, how long have you sat and applied this question to your current project, work or choice of careers? Probably not as long as you should.

If we ask why we will get to the heart of the matter and perhaps unearth the missing pieces that are keeping us stuck. It is probably the most enlightening question on earth….

Here is what I discovered when I asked why and went beyond the obvious…

Why do I write?

Because I am a conduit of truth and in seeking the answers I am so inspired that my discoveries must have somewhere to go…to be processed.
Because the quest is there in black and white. It can be assimilated, rediscovered, transmitted between idioms and shared.
Because it calms me, clears me out and helps to crystallize my thoughts.
Because it’s fun! Deep! Cool! Savvy! Interesting! Intelligent and Sane!
Because if I don’t I do not have any leverage. I cannot transform without releasing the flow of thoughts.
Because I would become constipated with words if I didn’t and bore the pants off all my friends…(I may do that already!).

Why do I blog?

Because it is a way for me to transmit my findings to others.
It stops me hoarding my knowledge.
Because sharing is healthy and we are right to use our freedoms.
Because freedom of speech is going to change the world to a better place.
Because it is an exercise in non-attachment.
Because it helps me overcome perfectionism.
Because it’s fun, creative, exciting, challenging, inspiring, satisfying, enriching.
Because books are much harder to write and I’m not ready for that.
Because it keeps me doing what I love.

Well I think the reasons are all there…I should just carry on. How about you. Why are you?

Photo Credit Joana Croft

What purpose do we need?

Today is one of those days. Today I feel bereft of an anchor or a purpose. I check my phone. Ah, the moon is nearly dark. The dark moon is always a confusing one for me; so used as I am, to being ‘filled up’ with things. I don’t feel panicked about it. Not this time anyway. So what’s changed? I can sense the emptiness coming with the approaching moon differently today. I feel somehow safe in its presence as if it were a benevolent friend sitting with me. It tells me not to worry and sitting in the feeling of emptiness I am aware of this befriending process. This is a new one, yet there is nothing new here at all! My mind is looking for a latch, or a hook upon which to hang this day, but the hook and the door indeed, have all but gone! Gone where? No-where. Emptiness is like that. Nothing has disappeared, yet its mere appearance is no longer manifesting before me. Confused? Don’t be.

It is no more confusing than a dew drop evaporating from the petal of a flower
Gone back to its source from whence it came, merely changing form, not essence

So what do I do in this state of being?…or no being? I really don’t know who I am or what I am doing in that potentially aimless day-to-day kind of way that could manifest into a depression or even simple malaise. So what gives?

Here is what my Buddha tells me:

Accept whatever feelings or states arrive to the best of your ability and allow the shifting of your mind to be in a positive direction. Be mindful of your emotions and mental winds and do not allow your state to sink. All is well. Trust. This is the time of clearing. Everything must evaporate into its native state before it can rebuild itself afresh. The process is indeed instigated by the passage of the moon in her phases and affects the very water molecules of your physical being. You could call this a body mood. It is beyond your control so do not try to save yourself from it! There is nothing to save! You are pure Buddha nature; at one with the light. Pure vibration. The release of who you think you are should feel refreshing to you and yet you spend so much time fearing this ‘no-self’. This too is part of the process of awakening. Awakening to your true nature is like a butterfly waking up and thinking it is still a caterpillar. The cocoon is gone. Your wings are fully formed. It’s time to learn to fly. This IS your purpose! Flight and the feelings of being alive. It is so simple and this is why you resist. You are addicted to complication. Let it go. It will be safe when you do. Peace.

That’s nice to know.
Thanks Inner Buddha Nature.
I am what I am. Simple!
What I do is what I feel like has meaning for me or is necessary for survival. This is the simplicity that brings mental peace and joy. Looking for more meaning than this at this point in time is clearly insane!

Today I wish for myself and for you, the grace to accept where we are and where we are not, and the release of our limited self-identity.
Fly on!

Namaste

Photo Credit Kelly Boesch