I read a blog last week where someone wrote that sometimes you had to take a step backwards to go forwards, referring to quitting her job to be with her kids. Another person was telling me about their friends' child who quit his fancy private school post trials, just weeks away from the HSC for mental health reasons. Sometimes we make unexpected choices. Sometimes we need to try something out before choosing the path we really wish to take.
Maybe we explore a dead end. Maybe we think we're on the right path, only to discover we need to start again. I don't see this as failure.
I read this article with interest, as I've children heading into those HSC years and we're already discussing alternative routes into the University of choice - starting elsewhere, doing the lacking subject at TAFE then moving credits into the desired Uni course. I keep hearing myself say "There are ways around everything".
I honestly believe that. There are ways around every obstacle if you look hard enough. We may not be on the trajectory that we grew up believing was the proper way to do things. As I've reached this ripe old age, all around me marriages are breaking down, people are battling cancer, others are losing their jobs. The conventional path we were on shifts overnight. Does it mean we've failed? We may not be where we thought we'd be. We may not be enjoying our life that much at the moment. What we need to remember is at any moment that can change again, just as it changed before. We need to remember it's a temporary shift and we can find a new path to navigate.
We need to re-evaluate what we see as failure. The landscape is a constantly shifting sand dune. We may lose our footing but there is nothing stopping us from dusting ourselves off and climbing to the top again.
One of the best ways to change how we think about failure is to re-evaluate what we judge as success. If we redefine our meaning of success, we won't be quite as hung up on failure.Sharon Jaynes wrote 'Successful mothers are not the ones that have never struggled. They are the ones that never give up, despite the struggles.' The woman who considered quitting her job to be with her kids, I would call a success, as she had the luxury to make that choice. The choice she thought was best. To the kid that quit just before the HSC, maybe he avoided a complete breakdown? Now he can work out what he wants to do and achieves that in a more manageable way, or at a more accommodating and supportive school.
While we travel down limitless paths, narrowing down choices and making plans, some will bring happiness, some won't. But none are permanent. We can alter the path at any point. If one path doesn't work out, we try another. That may fail too, but hopefully we learn to fail better. Success is not a destination, and it is not permanent. We need to remember that whatever we are going through now won't last. Things will change. We have that power.
Failure should be our teacher, not our undertaker. Failure is delay, not defeat. It is a temporary detour, not a dead end. Failure is something we can avoid only by saying nothing, doing nothing, and being nothing.” – Denis Waitley
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