On the last post I mentioned self forgiveness and failed to explore it at all. That’s interesting and, well, forgivable. This place to write isn’t about productivity and deadliness anyway, but just about writing through things and thinking them through. This one is a little more public and it’s also a way to explore WordPress, so not writing here for just a couple of days is largely forgivable.
Self forgiveness is something that has never come easy to me. In fact, I have generally been very binary about caring about success and failure. By that I mean I have been either entirely not caring at all about failures or beating myself up over failures. The former is more difficult to explain, but usually not caring at all about failure has been grounded in ignorance. Basically me not knowing the consequences of failure or not understanding what I’ve failed at. That in itself is a topic that could probably be discussed at great length, but overall it just means that if I was completely detached from a large failure in my life that it probably meant that I was oblivious to the consequences of the implications. Of course, there are certainly times when being detached and not caring about failure are fine and justified, but in a lot of cases I basically just haven’t cared enough about failing at something for it to bother me. Or worse, if it was genuinely important that I wasn’t moved to positive action from it.
The other way I have dealt with failure is the one that is probably more familiar to people: beating up on myself. i.e. just being downright unforgiving of making mistakes at all and become obsessed with avoiding that mistake in the future. Frankly, this is equally as bad as not giving a damn since it basically results in an identical way of dealing with things but on the opposite end of the spectrum: going to extremes. In the case of not caring at all, that extreme is apathy. In the case of not forgiving my mistakes, that extreme is obsession. The latter extreme is also a case of skewing priorities and the importance of certain actions. i.e. focusing on a single failure and trying to prevent only that type of failure in the future. And THAT doesn’t change the overall habits that are needed to avoid systemic failures. In other words, it doesn’t change the process, it only changes the response to one type of event.
It’s the wrong kind of thing to learn from failure. If anything, what I should be learning from failure is that, in fact, failure happens. It’s part of life. Sure, it shouldn’t be the primary thing you do, and it certainly shouldn’t be the primary thing you focus on, but it has to be part of the process. You can’t thrive without some disappointments and failures. Failures are where you learn a lot about yourself. It’s a great starting point for self exploration, actually.
That’s how I’ve ended up here. I felt like I had failed at my Focus Project last year and instead of just drowning my sorrows in beer or losing myself in nostalgic movie escapes, I decided I wanted to explore my failure. Not just my failure, but failure in general as a theme. I want to learn from not just my own failure, but from other failure as well. I want to use failure as an avenue for self exploration. Ironically what it ended up doing, though, was emphasizing my big successes with last year’s Focus Project. Not everything succeeded, but there were some big successes. I simply started to dwell on my failures at the end instead of looking back and examining the successes. Looking back and throughout a year eventually gets you to where you are now and then looking back turns into looking inward and becomes self exploration. And that is where I am now. Self exploring my ideas and assumptions about success and failure.