The journey to success is not often a linear one, nor is it rife with “yes!”s and obvious, silver-plattered opportunities. Rather, it is littered with failures, mishaps, wrong directions, and “what the hell was I thinking!?”s. Reality can be tough!
But…our perspective of that journey – that non-linear, tumultuous, stress-inducing road – can make all the difference in whether the path ends with success* or another “not-quite.”
*success as defined by us, let’s be clear
When we can take each “failure” as a positive, we are on our way to finding the successes we are aiming for. Why? Because each time we fall, we learn something new – we learn how to better navigate the rocky road of life and about who we are, what we need, and how we function optimally. In other words (and as we tell our kids in Martial Arts classes) when we lose, we learn…and that’s why we LOVE to lose.
It is horribly unrealistic to expect that the seas are always going to be smooth. It is also unrealistic to expect that we will fearlessly and perfectly navigate through every storm and crashing wave. What IS realistic is to expect that each fall we take will provide us with invaluable feedback, a lesson of some kind, and something positive in the end (knowledge gained, new connections, self discovery, an “ah-ha” moment…whatever it may be.)
Open your mind to the possibility of failure being a much-needed life guide – without it, we are incapable of learning that our limitations are often much farther out than our minds might impose, and that we are indeed destined for greatness.
Fear not if you falter, then, but reap the rich rewards -PLB
I have a profound compassion and respect for individuals with autism, their families, and their caregivers. The world in which they live is one that the majority will not only never understand, but one few make an effort to comprehend on a deeper level.
Though many of my own eccentricities and experiences pale in comparison to these individuals, I believe I am drawn to them because I do – on a minor scale – commiserate. There are certain tendencies or challenges that I deal with such as:
- Intense preference for / sensitivity to certain sounds (therefore, at times, need for full silence…or music…or earplugs)
- Difficulty focusing or concentrating unless under certain conditions
- Sensitivity to light
- When I was younger, anxiety surrounding social interaction (I couldn’t even ask for food at a snack bar!)
- Need for a heavy blanket or pressure when I sleep, or the sense of being in an alcove in order to be comfortable
- When I was younger, I also had trouble making friends – I’m still very much a lone wolf and need massive amounts of space and time to myself
- A tendency to take words very literally, and not forget them
- Too quiet and too chatty!
And…though I’m not ultra rigid to the point of breakdown, I have a strong preference for routine. When it comes to food, for example, I stick with the same (fortunately healthy) things. ALL the time. In part, its preference. In part, my body prefers it that way, not unlike some individuals with autism.
I used to feel badly about my “quirks” – embarrassed even! But I’ve realized that not only am I not alone in these traits, (and also not less of a person because of them!) but that they afford me the ability to help others who suffer greatly as a result of extreme variations of them. Certain sounds push me to the edge but then I think about the fact that understanding what that feels like gives me an edge in understanding the more extreme experience someone else is having. . .and that means more compassion. Compassion is something this community deserves in spades.
My “quirks” have also taught me the humor of it all. In life we all face challenges, both big and small. If we can find the humor in our situation, we can help others find the humor as well, not to mention keep ourselves on a healthy wavelength most of the time.
The community I have the great fortune to work with teaches me about not taking everything so seriously all the time…about finding the beauty in each of us in spite of some differences (and we ALL have “stuff!”)…and that a positive approach will help us see the gifts we’ve been given…even those born of adversity.
As an empath and co-dependant type, this is something I work on regularly – I’m worlds better than I once was, and I’m able to hear this sentiment in my mind even during the toughest times. I’ve referred to this idea often because it’s juts so powerful. . .
I remember watching Labyrinth as a kid – you remember that film with David Bowie as the Goblin King, right? Yeah, that one. (Don’t judge!) Well, for whatever the reason, I always noted – rather firmly – the “you have no power over me” part (the phrase alluded to in my early post, as linked above.) It just stuck. That said, I didn’t really apply it to myself until many…many…moons later.
Today I find myself going back to the sentiment – OFTEN. As they say, everyone is fighting a battle you know nothing about. You never know what’s going on with someone else, and therefore cannot know the impetus behind their actions. The reactions others have are (truly) their own and what we see is not always an accurate reflection of the full picture. Because of this, it is important we remind ourselves that whatever negativity comes our way – no matter the form – it doesn’t have power over us unless we let it.
As human beings, we feel – for empaths, profoundly – and that’s okay. But we do have a choice about whether we go flying off the tracks in anger, sadness, hurt etc…based on the actions of others. We don’t HAVE to. Neither they, nor any other junky energy, need ruin a beautiful day, or change our positive approach – only we can decide that.
I have not fact-checked these myself but lord knows you could research any number of “famous” folks, take a look at his or her track record, and garner the same fundamental idea. . .
DON’T. GIVE. UP.
We hear about the people who make the limelight, or contribute to an industry or the population on a relatively large scale – but that doesn’t mean hundred of thousands of other people around the globe aren’t ALSO achieving their dreams, crushing their goals, and reaching success…in their terms.
Whether you fail at one thing a hundred times, or several endeavors once. . .don’t lose heart.
Keep striving for what matters TO YOU.
Keep working hard, keep feeding your dreams.
The failures help us learn what to do better, and sometimes redirect us completely to land us on the path meant of us. You are often so much closer than you think – keep up the great work.
Ever stood in line longer than necessary because a younger cashier is struggling with basic math functions? It isn’t a matter of being rude…it’s a little bit frightening! So much is done for people by way of apps in daily life that they are beginning to lose the ability to function without a device. . .
SCARY, don’t you think?!
It isn’t always about the motivation – sometimes it’s simply NOT there. Maybe you’re tired, maybe you just don’t feel like it. Discipline is that figure sitting on your shoulder, whispering in your ear:
“You’ll feel amazing once you get through it”
Motivation isn’t always easy to come by, but discipline can get you through.