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Failure is the starting point of success

May 1, 2013

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Everyone fails at something on a semi-regualr basis. If you don’t, I want to meet you.

Some people fail over and over and over at the same things. Some people like failing, it gives them something to focus on and feel bad about. Others use failure as a positive barometer for where they are in their thinking and doing.

I am having successes and challenges at not buying new things. Circumstances keep arising that keep me spending more than I want to. School, work, home repairs, it doesn’t stop. How do minimalists do it? How do other people own only one tube of lipstick?!?! Every day is a new chance to do it differently. Always remember that. If you screw something up, let someone down, stop short, don’t try, don’t bother to think, or don’t care, there is always a new day just a sleep away to offer another chance at doing it another way.

So many famous people in history left their mark long after they failed, and at great expense. Harland Sanders couldn’t sell his chicken cooking method for the life of him until he got a break after a long and arduous road. A man named Levi from Germany (and his brother) were having a rough time selling canvas tents to hard working miners, so they switched so selling pants which later became blue jeans. I could go on and on but the point is at the end of every failure is the beginning of another potential success and the worst fail is never trying.

One telling moment that keeps me going in my life when things get difficult is the story of my last year of high school during my math exam. I was doing terribly in math and the morning of the exam was upon me. I remember saying to myself while lying in bed: I have 10 minutes to either go back to sleep, or get up and screw this exam up completely. I know I’m going to fail it. I suck at math. I don’t want to go through the embarrassment, and complete waste of time on tanking this exam. Then, I had one split second of clarity. I said: either I go and write it and fail, or I will feel worse for not even trying. I got out of bed, went to school and wrote a really bad grade 12 math exam. A week later our class results were posted on the wall. My mark was 50%. I passed the exam, passed my course and graduated from high school only because I got that 50% pass in math.

I have always remembered that lesson, and have lived by the following 2 things in life. Choose your battles wisely, and even if you think you are going to completely fail at something, if you think there is merit in what you are doing, try anyway.

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