gratitude-a-thon day 252: fail, fail again, fail better

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Who doesn’t love an inspiring coffee shop quote? This one is funny, but it’s damn true. Why are we so hard on ourselves in regard to failure. Why is failure the worst “F-word?”

I have failed so many times at so many things that I have completely, (and joyfully) lost count. I brought Jake home from the hospital all cocky that I knew what I was doing, cut his tiny little translucent nails, so cavalierly that I made one of his fingers bleed. He wailed so loudly, I was sure he was saying, “Let me back in.” MOMMY FAIL. I paid more attention to my social life and boyfriend status in high school than high school. TEENAGER FAIL. I permed my hair from 1985-1993. BIGGEST STYLE FAIL EVER.

I have made mistakes all over the place. And when I was younger, each time I failed, I interpreted it as a character flaw, another reason to think I didn’t get the “Rule Book on Life” that everybody else got (wrong address? Was it accidentally thrown out with the junk mail? I could never figure out the reason it never came). But as I have gotten older, I haven’t only wrinkled, I have also accepted that failing is the beginning of learning. You burn the chicken, you know what temperature to put it on next time. You choose the wrong job, you quit and find another. You make a bad parenting decision, and you learn to make a better one. It’s ok to fail. It’s worse to be so afraid of failure that you never try anything and live a life of quiet blah. “Dribble,”  you say? “Who wants to fail?”  The truth is that failing is the educational road to succeeding. We should really be packaging it more like that. It would take away the fear and loathing of failure and make it into the positive it really is. Ben Franklin might have said it better, “I didn’t fail the test, I just found 100 ways to do it wrong.” And now, I will go and start my day of failures and successes. I’ve realized both are fine, because both will keep me learning and growing. And not doing that would really be an EPIC FAIL.

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