There’s something floating around the zeitgeist holding that failure is not the end of all things, but the beginning.
“Have a system.”
“Failure makes you stronger.”
My high school music teacher–the best teacher I ever had–used to say something to us before every performance: “Eat a rock.”
As in, go out and do something bold. Impossible. Dumb, even. But also glorious. And in order to eat a rock–and here’s the important part–you can’t give up or let up, not even for a second. Because if you do, you’ll never finish.
It’s a silly metaphor, and it conjures up all sorts of interesting visual imagery, but it’s stuck with me all the same ever since.
Eat a rock.
I had a big failure recently. Like, a massive one. But something strange happened when I got the news. I wasn’t angry, or worried, or filled with self-pity. I felt–and this is where it gets weird–empty. Numb.
Though this is the kind of thing that would make most wail and gnash their teeth, it didn’t move the needle for me one way or the other. It was just a thing, another thing in life that needs to be dealt with.
Maybe I’ve been internalizing these messages. Maybe saturating myself in the world of self-improvement, systems-thinking, philosophy, and brotherhood so much these past two years is actually rubbing off on me.
In truth, things will get worse before they get better. Life will get more difficult. But once the numbness wore off, felt oddly exhilarated. I went into my room, hit the knees in prayer, and when I got up, I felt a sense of resolve.
I have a responsibility and a duty. To my family and to myself.
And nothing, not even failure, lasts forever.
One of these messages of “empowerment”–and oh, how I hate that word–is that failing does not make you a failure.
You are only a failure if you don’t learn from it, if you find yourself a year from now in the exact same position.
In other words, keep eating the damn rock.
Look, I make no claims to having the answers. My life is basically a cautionary tale of what not to do to be rich, successful, and influence people. I’m fine with that. But if others, especially my son, can learn from my failures, than have I really failed?
Have I not left the world a better place than it was before I got here?
That’s what I’ll keep telling myself.
So I’ll keep stumbling forward, with that abundance mindset firmly entrenched within me and my faith in God intact.
Life goes on whether l, you’re ready for it or not. And it does not care about you or me. So eat that rock and keep rolling on.
Because come what may, this life is an adventure. And, thank God, it’ll end eventually, and that’s when things will realty get beautiful.
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