How To Fail

Life is an ice rink, and we’re all children trying to learn how to skate. There will be stretches of fast, smooth gliding–and plenty of tripping. Enough bloggers have written about “the key to perfection” and “secrets to success”. It’s time to learn how to fall and how to fail. 

First off, we must expect to fail and accept that failure is not a sign of personal weakness. Assuming that a new skater will be able to glissade across smooth ice as soon as her skates have been tied is simply unrealistic. It doesn’t matter how old you are–we’re always being exposed to fresh circumstances. Would you scold a little child for falling on the ice? Of course not! Refuse to treat yourself badly. Say nothing to or about yourself that you wouldn’t say to your dearest loved one.

Next, we learn how to fall. Have you ever taken skating lessons? There are techniques you must learn that will ensure falling safety. Such is true in life. One of the best things I’ve learned to do is come up with a list of ways to cope with sadness and disappointment to avoid resorting to self-hatred. Spend time with yourself. Run a hot bath, light some candles, and listen to some Debussy (an hour of Debussy here). Take a walk and engage your sense of smell. Do anything that relaxes you and lightens your mood. This way, you’ll know what to do when you fail.

Finally, take a look around the skating rink. Observe the ice. Pay attention to the skaters in your proximity. What caused you to fall? Was it just a bump in the road of life? Did somebody slam into you, shaking up your world? Once you’ve examined and reflected, it’s time to take action. All action requires getting back up. You cannot stay sprawled out on the rink. It’s dangerous–you could get hit in the head by a blade of hopelessness. Who are the skaters closest to you, and what are they doing? Are they holding on to your arm and pulling you down? Will they disparage you in your learning process? Avoid these skaters. Surround yourself with those who care about you. Those who will forgive you and love you, despite your flaws. 

Most of all, keep on skating. You’ll get the hang of it soon. And when you do, it will be glorious–you will jump and pirouette like never before.




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