Failure: A Manifesto

When all else fails eat cow tongue and learn Spanish.

Have you ever had one of those days..  you know those days where everything seems to be off regardless of how you feel prior to all of the chaos? Today was that day.  I’m not here to bitch about it but instead learn the lessons from it and, try as I may, not make the same mistakes in the future.  Today was the culmination of 5 weeks of nonstop studying, months of coordination, and years of preparation.  Despite all of that pre-game action today fell right through the cracks.  Today was just one crazy thing after the next.  As much as I want to cuss everyone out and throat punch someone just for good measure I can’t seem to find how any of that will improve the situation.  Not that my situation is any worse than anyone else, but I notice as I walk around and listen to people it seems everyone has something to bitch about.  Most of that bitching is about why the world is so mean and why life is so difficult.

I don’t care how much struggle you have had to deal with, the world is not unfair or difficult.  Your perception is what makes it difficult. After the dust settles you are the one still talking about it and perpetuating negativity.  That’s the thing about a good fire, as long as it has fuel it will keep burning indefinitely.  As some of my Spanish friends would say “Que es tu problema?” => What’s the problem? (this is the point where the self-loathers click the “x” in the corner of their browser…real people who are doing shit with their lives read on)

Don’t fuck it up…but if you do, don’t kill yourself because of it.

I would much rather say “fuck all of it” and just quit sometimes.  I’m sure you have felt the same as well, we all have at some point.  The truth is there have been plenty of times in my life I have done just that.  Those were not times of weakness.  They were times of strength and knowing what you really care about.  The things you really don’t care about are the things you can walk away from and not feel guilty about for the rest of your life.

Know what your weakness is and kill it!

Not to steal thunder from Mike Berardino, Sun Sentinel columnist, but the famous quote by Mike Tyson keeps playing over and over in my head:

Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the mouth

As Mike Tyson explains, it puts things in perfect perspective, not just in the ring but in everyday life.  You can plan all you want but at the end of the day you can’t plan for a flying goat falling out of the sky on top of your head and killing you.  Flying goats are a little ridiculous but random surprises happen every day to all kinds of people.  Sure, people get lucky for very long periods of time but luck, just like any other muscle, will atrophy if not maintained properly.  It is not surprising that successful people continue to develop their “luck” so that it keeps growing rather than dying away.  Look at any good pro level athlete.  They work on and off season, on and off the field.  They live and breathe their sport.  They don’t take any days off from work.  Yes, they have families and obligations like everyone else, but they put in the hours of practice every day.  They don’t practice until they are better, they practice until they find the weakness and then they practice on that weakness until its eliminated.

Tyson has been the champ, been rich, been broke, been divorced, had tragedy.  He has seen all sides of the coin.  His magical power is not magical at all.  It is simply persistence.  Staying the course.  Knowing when to shift directions but ultimately still heading to the original destination.  Life is not a straight clean path, it is a long winding road through the back country of Australia.  You are going to encounter kangaroos and dingoes who will run in front of your car as you speed down the road at 90 Mph.  No one will be there to save you when you run out of gas, no one will encourage you, and no one will be at the finish line to congratulate you, much less hand you a water bottle.  At least you have to think like this in order to prepare properly.  Reality is there will be plenty of people along the way.  They will have their own agendas and their own goals.  Feel free to welcome their blessing upon you but don’t let their goals interfere with your own.

“A man that’s a friend to everyone is an enemy to himself”

This is Mike Tyson’s actual favorite quote.  Put another way, he who is everything to everybody is nothing to himself.  I fall into this trap all of the time.  It’s a lesson I have to learn over and over.  You can’t be everybody’s everything and still be the Captain of your own ship.  There is a reason the Captain sleeps in separate quarters from the rest of the crew.  He separates himself, at least professionally, in order to maintain control of the ship without letting personal things get in the way.  His main mission is to get the ship from one port to the next safely, that’s it.  If he is spending time tending to everyone else’s needs and not managing the daily needs of the voyage he will eventually miss something and …  well, we all know how Titanic ended.  This is something that people close to you don’t want to hear, especially those who are in need of attention.  They want you to be on their schedule.  That is rarely possible when you command your own ship.  Yes, you can carve out time for people you love, but you can’t carve out so much time that you don’t accomplish your own mission.  That is a slackline walk across a razorblade.  You can put yourself first without feeling guilty about it.  The English dictionary defines guilt as such:

verb

information

1. make (someone) feel guilty, especially in order to induce them to do something.

“Celeste had been guilted into going by her parents”

Guilty or happy, it’s your choice.

So, what was today’s lesson? Stop complaining!  Period.  Stop making excuses!  Stop being a scapegoat for mother nature!  Stop being a victim of circumstance!  All of these are roadblocks to your happiness.  I don’t know about you but my happiness is paramount.  It is the one thing I will not sacrifice.  I’m not talking about someone cutting in front of me in the checkout line at Staples.  I am talking about overall contentment and peace.  If things keep falling apart it is usually due to the fact that you were not prepared.  Don’t take it as failure.  Just prepare better and trust your instinct for how you know you should navigate rather than falling prey to how others think you should navigate.  Of course, the one caveat to this is if the other person is completely behind you 100% and has your best interest at heart.

Be well and have a wonderful weekend!


Also published on Medium.

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Comments
  • spottedgeckgo
    Reply

    When you strike out on your own and seek to stand apart from the crowd, following your own heart and your own wind, expect to be kicked in the face daily. This is the status quo trying to suck you back in.

Dont forget to leave me something to chew on after you have gone back to your normal life.. and I stay here inside the matrix. ;-)