The Absurdity of Failure
Finding Joy in 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 forwarding progress. They actually are 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 an 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 is even likely to create new possibilities previously unknown. These new possibilities create new opportunities and are also a large part of growth or progress.
The Beauty of Failure
Understanding and 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 condemning failure. Shifting our mentality towards viewing “failure” as equal to “success” and an important part of success is incredibly important to our health, happiness, and worldview. 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 that 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 and the same. I feel what we should celebrate is effort. Effort is the real catalyst of achievement. 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. They are helping us learn, grow, and become strong, 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. This acceptance means less poisonous stress. This poisonous stress, which is said to be the precursor of most all diseases, 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