our splendid failures

Henry Ford said that failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently. As someone with a strong perfectionist streak I do not do well with failure, but the older I get the more I realize that our imperfections as humans make it an inevitable part of life. As with so many things in life, failure does not kill us but it has the potential to make us stronger. John Wooden echoes this sentiment, “Failure is not fatal, but failure to change might be.”

We are works in progress and living in an awareness of this, restless as it may sometimes seem, can propel us forward. Thomas Edison said, “Restlessness is discontent and discontent is the first necessity of progress. Show me a thoroughly satisfied man and I will show you a failure.” If we dare to dream impossible dreams we are likely to miss the mark countless times along the way or, in our estimation, to miss it altogether, but as William Faulkner says, “All of us failed to match our dreams of perfection. So I rate us on the basis of our splendid failure to do the impossible.”

And when all is said and done I try to remind myself that it takes courage to grow up, become the person I am and pursue my dreams in the knowledge that I risk making a fool of myself, because after all: ” There is only one failure in life possible, and that is not to be true to the best one knows” (George Eliot).

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