I saw a friend of mine perform in a concert recently. Afterwards, a sweet woman approached him, showering him with much deserved compliments- the usual. Then, she handed him a card. At first I figured “ooh lala, an agent, a casting director?” But it was something else. The card read:
“For it is not failure that stops most people, but rather the belief that failure is permanent. Failure is nothing more than a storm in the weather forecast for the week- it comes and it goes, and it waters next season’s yield because it teaches us where we can improve.”
After looking it up, I found that the quote is by an author named Jake Ducey.
The quote was printed out on computer paper, cut down to size, and glued onto a business card. I couldn’t believe how thoughtful it was, and I was glad to have witnessed it.
I just love this quote. And it is amazing to me because I read it at a time I really needed it. A time where mine and failure’s relationship was starting to get wonky- we weren’t communicating very well, there was a power struggle, and we’d been spending too much time together…getting on each other’s nerves.
“The belief that failure is permanent.” Such a simple statement. It makes me laugh. Why does everything have to have such high stakes attached? Well, everything doesn’t. I make it that way because I believe every little misstep is a print in drying concrete- to be left there forever- when in reality, it is a footprint in the dirt, to be washed away by the storm in the weather forecast for the week. I cannot undo the fact that I have stepped there, that’s true, but the aftermath of the incident does not have to reside there, unchanging for all eternity. I do not have to be tortured by its presence. I learn from it, I do not forget it, but I do not cling to it, and I will not trip over that footprint if I come across that path again on my journey. It is no longer there to trip over.
“Failure waters next season’s yield.” I think this is beautiful. Failure’s gloomy storm clouds bring success’ radiant sunflowers. It is just a fact. So, failure is actually a beautiful, nurturing force. Failure takes care of us. Failure prepares us. Failure isn’t really failure at all. It is merely the cracking open of an experience, a burst of electric energy, a cleansing release of what is natural. What is meant to happen.
Then come the flowers.
If you do not put yourself out there for fear of failure and its believed permanence, then you’ll have neither rain nor flowers. You’ll be caught in a drought. Or, if you fear a flood, instead- a surplus of failure- then remember this: the world of your mind is far too strong and vast to ever be flooded. There are planes enough to be watered for a lifetime, just as long as you take care to learn from from each and every rainy season. Let go of that fear, let yourself realize the silliness of failure, the beauty in it, and then, one day, realize there is more than prettiness to flowers: there is triumph.