Join my newsletter for info on upcoming books, classes, appearances, and discounts.Join Now!

Fail big

512px-Falling_surfer

Always bear in mind that your own resolution to succeed is more important than any other one thing. ~ Abraham Lincoln

Abraham Lincoln knew how to fail big. He also knew how to win.

The path to success in anything will always be riddled with potholes and treacherous drop-offs. Slipping and stumbling along the way at least means you’re on the road. It also means that you’re learning what not to do, so as you progress down the path you keep a sharper eye out for anything that could trip you up.

You learn the warning signs and you arm yourself with the tools you need to make it to the top.

But it’s not easy.

Roseberry_Topping_Race_2005_-_geograph.org.uk_-_106412

Very little worth having comes easy—if it does, I’d start looking for the scam or the Candid Camera crew—and when things are tough, we get tired. We start to doubt ourselves and our resolve and wonder why we’re putting ourselves through this punishment. Who wants to trip and fall and stumble all the time?

We start to wonder if the end goal is really worth it. Is it worth all of the time, energy, frustration, money, missed [insert whatever you have to give up here], late nights, early mornings, and pain?

Maybe.

Ask yourself how you’ll feel a year from now—two years, ten years, when you’re ninety—if you don’t stick with it. How will you feel if you give up on this dream?

If the answer is, “Thank God I didn’t waste any more time on that crazy idea.” Then go forth and be happy and do something else.

If your future self is more likely to curse you out for not sticking with it, to berate you for failing to believe in yourself, to pester one and all with your stories of regret for the dream you gave up, then go forth and be happy knowing that you’re doing what you’re meant to do.

Setbacks will happen. Pain will happen. Failures. Will. Happen.

Skateboard-cast-broken_leg-690475-l

But you will—most likely, assuming we’re not talking about death-defying acts of acrobatics and the like—survive. And you will come out on the other side stronger and wiser and closer than ever to your goal.

I thought that today, on Abraham Lincoln’s birthday, it might be relevant and helpful to remind you of the many failures and setbacks of the famous U.S. president.

[Click here for a list.]

Lincoln was met with disaster and defeat repeatedly. Interestingly, these often came just before success.

I think the only difference between him and other people who face setbacks is that he kept moving forward toward his goal, in spite of the obstacles. He knew what he wanted and he kept going after it like a K-9 on the scent. Unwavering, single-minded, focused. (Or so I’ve read. It’s not like I knew the guy.)

Even if it’s all a myth, let’s use it as a model, shall we?

Go forth and fail madly and happily on your way to your dream.

I dare you.

Image credits: (1) Brocken Inaglory [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)], via Wikimedia Commons

(2) Mick Garratt [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

(3) By Sister72 (http://www.flickr.com/photos/sis/514293861/) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

0 Comments

  1. Reply

    Reblogged this on S.K. Nicholls and commented:
    This is such a positive post I just had to reblog it. So often we see the negatives and self doubt online and we all need words of encouragement.

  2. Reply

    Fail big! Just ask the athletes at the Olympics just now. I will put a link to this on my Facebook page.

    Just this morning I wrote the draft of a blog post entitled “Flunked,” recounting failing my driver’s test twice. Passed on the 3rd try of course! Great wisdom in this post–thank you!

    • Reply

      Oh, great point, marianbeaman! They olympians are excellent examples of those who’ve failed over and over in order to succeed. I always think of the ice skaters and those jumps. Thanks for linking! Glad you passed the driver’s test. 😉

  3. Reply

    Gwen. Glad things are going well. Looks like you are enjoying taking charge of your professional life. Next thing I know you will be reporting on bungee jumping.

    • Reply

      Curtis: I am enjoying it. Also pretty nervous about the whole thing. And, um, no. No bungee jumping for me. I like to keep my extreme adventures on the page. 😉 Thanks!

Leave Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

%d bloggers like this: