Being A Failure Is The Best Thing You Could Do With Your Life
I had planned on giving you my first Primal/Paleo update today, but as I’m only on day 4 and no significant changes or murderous rampages to report, I thought it may be better to wait until after the weekend and I’ve had a full week to see how things are.
Not only that, but I have been really busy with How To Be Rich and Happy stuff. We had our first major breakthrough this week when a Central Florida charity requested 750 books.
The charity is the Children’s Advocacy Center of Osceola County who provide services to children and non-offending family members that are victims of child sexual and physical abuse. It’s an amazing charity that doesn’t get the support it deserves, so we’re absolutely delighted to be helping out and I’m delivering the books myself tomorrow (Friday).
If you’ve bought a copy of the book these are the kind of projects you’re helping, so THANKS!
It was fortunate then that Marc Quinn sent me a brilliant guest post that took me about 17 seconds to decide to run. Rather than steal his thunder any more I’ll let you read the post and make your own mind up.
Being A Failure Is The Best Thing You Could Do With Your Life
A year ago, I made a decision that completely changed my world. I accepted I was a failure.
I was working as a Health & Safety officer for major supermarkets in the UK. I could walk around with a PDA saying cool things like: “Hey, the underside of your counters are dirty” or “Look at the corners of this knife, they have fish scales in them still”. Yes, life was good! *zzzz*
In 12 years of employment, I had had 15 jobs. I was fired only once, and every manager I ever had knew me as the guy who was very bright but was as dozy as the flightless Dodo. I simply didn’t care.
And so in the summer of 2009, I listened to the feeling in my gut, admitted I was a failure and gave up employment with nothing else to go to, no way to support the apartment I was renting in East London, and with still approximately £7k in debt hanging over my head.
From the outside, I looked like a dumbass. From the inside, it was the most edgy thing I had done my whole life, and it felt so right. My mother didn’t speak to me for a month.
The journey through this transition continued for 4 months. In that time, I lived in my parents’ house, on an eco-farm picking onions, and then upgraded to a flea-ridden apartment, with rats, mice and blood stains on the wall from the former inhabitants shooting up and hitting a vein. Oh, and apparently a hooker had died in the place I was about to call “my bedroom”. I moved out after 24 hours. Surprising to some, the fleas were the deal-breaker.
For 4 months, I wandered from dead-end to dead-end. Each time I made a decision, it left me further and further in debt.
And yet, despite failure after failure, I built a resiliency in myself I had not known before. I had failed at full-time work, and couldn’t even do unemployment very well. Through making these decisions that left me consistently worse off than the last time, I found a strength in myself that told me this was finally MY path. I knew safety far too well, and my DNA was starting to rot by staying there.
Many people talk about commitments like they are the only things that will get you anywhere in life. Unless you stick at something, you won’t get anywhere. And so, we stick out jobs that keep the carrot just beyond our reach. Our success is said to be assured. We have a job, a house, a marriage, and maybe even the latest iPhone 4.
And yet, being a failure is all about perspective. We may actually be completely miserable in our lives, and even discover that the iPhone 4 is no different than the last.
Two Types of Failure
I learned that there are three types of failure in the world. Before I tell you, I must admit that I operate inside the cool one about 2% of my week. I’m working on getting that to 4%:
The Comfortable Failure
I once heard someone justify staying with their husband because they had just redecorated their living room. The Comfortable Failure is someone who work their whole lives getting what they have been told they need to live a “successful life”. They do love the feel of their sheets on their 4-poster bed, and their garden really does relax them. And yet they know they have really just built themselves their own plush prison cell.
The Comfortable Failure is so attached to their routine that they will only encourage other people’s comfort routines, and will form an immune system against anything that strays too far from that – for fear of losing what they already have. The main way the Comfortable Failure accidentally becomes a Successful Failure is by going through some great upset in their circumstances or loses someone close to them.
The Successful Failure
The best kind of failure to be is also, perhaps, the scariest. Failures who work to liberate themselves from their comfortable circumstances often create something new that inspires and challenges them. The work they choose pushes into new realms of possibility that so few have explored before, often whilst fearing nobody will care. They will often throw it all on the line for something they see as being a necessary addition to the world.
They are always checking in with themselves to see if their work is in line with their values and creative aspirations. And yet, they are not afraid to throw away 100 hours of work on something they originally thought was awesome because they realize it no longer serves them. They recognize and accept that the majority of their time will end up being a ‘waste of time’ and that only a slither of their projects will actually truly take off, some may actually leave them worse off than they were before (perhaps). And yet they choose to chomp at the bit each time nonetheless.
The Failure In Between
The Failure In Between acknowledges they want change and often make the jump or devote their resources to begin creating what they want. However, they often find themselves getting stuck in ‘regular-alternative pursuits’ that do not inspire them.
They blog about a topic they think will make them a lot of money. They take a program in making money online and are afraid to bring out their personality when they promote their products. Worse, they generalize about what they do when people ask and try to justify why they have chosen that path – rather than admitting to themselves they still don’t give a crap.
The Failure In Between talks about creating their own dream life, and yet they find themselves doing much the same as everyone else, and are often afraid to let their personality come out for fear of ‘not being liked’. They have “stuck it to the man” and yet they are themselves stuck.
Which one are you going to choose to be today? Success is not guaranteed in any of the three. And yet only one will bring you the kind of cheesy-grin kind of satisfaction you are really wanting to experience every day. Mediocre, Extraordinary or Kind-Of-But-Not-Quite-Extraordinary – only you can decide!