The beauty and potency of failure:
Progress is two steps forward and one step back (kind of). It could actually be two steps forward and 10 steps back then 12 steps forward. You get the point. Yet what is not commonly embraced is the fact that those two steps back are part of forward progress so they are actually not “steps back”. Challenges are an innate part of progress and sometimes they are called growing pains. If steps back are not steps back but actually part of the process of stepping forward then why call them “steps back”? If mistakes or failures are part of learning are they really mistakes? I know we need a word for a unintended result but that word should not have a negative connotation, as that unintended result is part of the process of the intended result or even likely to create new possibilities previously unknown. These new possibilities create new opportunities and are also a large part of growth or progress.
Understanding this and especially remembering this during times of difficulty will have a big impact on our mental health and levels of stress. Yet we live in a culture that never reminds us of these facts and goes even further in glorifying or glamorizing the successes and deglamorizing even condemning failure. So shifting our mentality towards viewing “failure” as equal to “success” and actually an important part of success is incredibly important to our health, happiness and world view. If challenges create strength, then are challenges bad? As evolution has it only the strong survive! Part of being strong is facing failure with dignity and resolve. This is made easier if somewhere deep in the back of your head you know the failure is good not bad, it’s an important part of life, growth, and knowledge. If this is true, should we celebrate failure the same way we celebrate accomplishment? I’m not sure if we should celebrate either but, yes, if we celebrate one we should celebrate the other as they are one in the same. I feel what we should celebrate is effort. Effort is the real catalyst of achievement and effort is what we want to see from ourselves.
Could you imagine a scenario in which all situations of one’s life are viewed in a positive context? Although difficulties are still difficult and challenges are still challenging, behind these experiences there is the innate understanding that these challenges are not bad even though they don’t feel good and they are helping us learn and grow and become strong and wise and all we can be. You could even say they are necessary. Therefore, the stress and negativity, the doom and gloom, the self loathing and doubt, are removed from the experience as one starts to view difficulty less negatively and eventually understands its importance in our growth, allowing us to more easily accept life’s fluctuations and this acceptance means less poisonous stress. This poisonous stress, which is said to be the precursor of most all disease is coming from one’s inability or willingness to embrace or accept what is.
For people who are truly interested in health and wellbeing we need to look a little deeper than simply feeding the body good stuff. We need to feed our brain good stuff. Good stuff means an understanding of the benefit and potency of all of life’s experiences. They didn’t teach us this in school but this is exactly what yoga teaches.
Welcome to Power Yoga!
With Love and Gratitude, bryan kest