Our lives are a series of stories we tell ourselves. Two different people can look at the same situation and derive totally different meaning from it. That is because we see reality the way we want to see reality.
Take failure for example.
It’s an important example because the story you tell yourself about your mistakes and your regrets may just determine where you are going to end up.
So what’s your story?
Imagine you’re a runner. You are a great athlete and your goal is to run across your whole country. It’s roughly a 8000 kilometre journey, give or take a few, though the hills and valleys of many highways. Your goal is to cross ten provinces and if can endure running a marathon each and every day (42 kilometres), you would reach the end in about 190 days or about six and a half months.
Obviously you need to have a good reason to run, unless you are Forrest Gump of course, but lets say you are running to find a cure for Cancer. You’ve already put in more than 5000 kilometres prior to starting out. You’ve trained really hard. You are determined. You are focused.
But you fail.
You don’t make it. You run for 143 days. Your feet take five thousand, three hundred and seventy three kilometres, but you have to stop. The cancer you are trying to raise awareness about. The cancer that you’re hoping to raise money to find a cure for spreads to your lungs and you die.
You die a failure.
5000 kilometres is not 8000 kilometres by any mathematical standards, and if that is your measuring stick, you should feel terrible about your experience and probably never mention it again.
But this is Terry Fox we are talking about. The young man who had the courage to undertake something he had no business in undertaking. And how many people have taken up the called and have ran and walked on his behalf? How much money was raised over the years? How many people have their children back? Their mothers back? Their grandfathers back?
How you interpret your failures in life matters.
On the one hand your failure is the end of something. The end of something you didn’t want to end. Something that might have taken years to build. Nothing but another indication that you are worthless and hold no real value. That you can’t do anything right but that is not your problem. As much as that might hurt the mistake you often make in thinking like that lies somewhere else. Your mistake is quitting. Your error is to just lay down and do nothing else. The mistake is not getting up, licking your wounds and going it again.
On the other hand, imagine that you’ve never quit. You’ve arrived to your harbour. There were some rough storms along the way, but you made it. Your story, when you arrive will be a little different. Because you arrived, you have a story to tell, and the mistakes and failures that hold you back, become great stories of overcoming and conquering your inner demons.
So what’s your story?
How will you view your mistakes?
Decide now, because each way carves out a different path in your future.
Cover photo generously provided by photographer Neon Brand via unsplash.com