by Kenneth justice
~ Yesterday I ran into a client I hadn’t talked to in awhile and they weren’t in the best of moods,
“Kenneth, every single project I’ve worked on this past year keeps turning sour. I’m pretty much at my wits end and I’m thinking about giving up and changing careers” he said
I suspect most people have dealt with failure at some point or another in their life. Whether it was a failed relationship, job, vocational task, or fill-in-the-blank. Failure is as much apart of life as success, and in many circumstances we end up failing more often than we succeed.
Various research studies have suggested that younger generations respond to failure more dramatically than older generations due to a disillusionment on the part of young adults; they believe they can “do” anything, and when they find out life is much harder than they had anticipated, they end up taking it a lot harder than perhaps is needed.
Television, movies, and the Internet sell us a narrative that we are the next big story waiting to happen; all we need is a good voice, decent looks, or a clever idea and in the blink of an eye we could be an overnight sensation. The Internet and social networks are chock full of rags-to-riches success stories, people who posted a simple idea on a crowdfunding site and within days had raised a million dollars. Last year I had more than a dozen people tell me about “Potato salad-dude” who raised $50 thousand dollars to make his first ever bowl of potato salad, as though this kind of thing is something ‘any’ of us could obtain.
Success stories sell and capture the publics attention; failure stories do not sell, and the simple fact of the matter is that for every single guy who raises thousands of dollars to make potato salad, there are millions of people who fail miserable.
The narrative of a relatively unknown Senator from Illinois bursting through the political ranks to become President is one we’ve all heard; some people believe any of us can be the next Barack Obama, but it doesn’t work that way. People tend to focus on President Obama’s achievements rather than the many obstacles he endured along his journey;
—) Decades of monotonous church attendance at an important church (albeit nutty) church in Chicago
—) Depression, massive debt, and a marriage on the rocks following a political loss in a 2000 election
—) Constantly having to appease the lobbyists who helped him along the way, President Obama has had to give up nearly every single campaign promise in order to keep the peace with the people who fund him
President Obama is a good example of failure; someone who kept at it despite constant failure at many different turns. Yet the narrative that people more often than not spin, is success, because success sells and failure isn’t hip.
The blogging world is full of failure. Every day tens of thousands of people start new blogs, and every day tens of thousands of people give up after not gaining any readers. The blogging world is a difficult place to make a name for yourself; there are bloggers around the world who are actively trying to be number one in order to pad their ego or ‘become famous’. If you’re a blogger who wants to write about important topics, it’s difficult to garner a following when you’re up against other bloggers who write trite little stories about their sexual encounters, dropping in salacious details to entice people to read their triviality over you.
The business world is full of failure. People set out into a career with a massive amount of gusto and then a few years down the line they realize their particular industry is rather monotonous and boring, yet the obstacles they face in switching careers often seem to be too difficult to surmount.
How we respond to failure demonstrates the bricks of which we are made. How we respond to failure tell us a lot about ourselves. It is through failure that we find out who we really are; anyone can be a happy and joyful person when they are experiencing success. The real question is whether or not we will be joyful in the face of failure or whether we will give ourselves over to despair. As Paul said, “My brothers and sisters, consider it nothing but joy when you fall into all sorts of trials”.
Just a few thoughts as I sipped my coffee this morning,
Categories: Culture & Society