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Another First

I heard it said that failure is simply early attempts at success. It’s important to realize that what we learn from our failures can be important stepping stones. Listen to some of the experts:

  • "No pressure, no diamonds." -Mary Case

  • "I have not failed; I have just found 10,000 ways that don't work." -Thomas Edison

  • "Failure is just the opportunity to begin again; this time more intelligently." -Henry Ford

  • "It's not that I'm so smart; I just stay with the problems longer." -Albert Einstein

  • "When you are going through hell... keep going!" -Winston Churchill

When we train ourselves to look at "failures" as learning experiences and course corrections, obstacles become teachers and setbacks are part of the curriculum. Einstein said, "If I only have an hour to solve a problem, I will spend 55 minutes asking the right question and then 5 minutes solving the problem."


So what's the question you need to ask at this moment? What can get you from the life you are living now to the life you know you want to live? Do the "gremlins" taunt you that you can't or do you allow the limbic monkeys to rattle your mental cage with negativity?


What's the best version of your life? Are you living it now? Why not? New Year's Eve is exactly one month from now. The beginning of each month is a golden opportunity for us to take inventory of where we are, where we've come from and where we'd like to go (perhaps you've heard that "if you don't know where you're going, any road will get you there").


Last year I read A Year to Live by Stephen Levine (Bell Tower, 1997). Having been a hospice worker for many years, he accompanied the dying and knows the territory surrounding the last days of people's lives. And so he embarked on a year-long experiment to "practice dying as the highest form of wisdom" (Socrates) and shared how such conscious living forces us to examine our priorities.


Regarding the subject of near-death occurrences he writes:

Most who returned from such an experience came back with three very precious insights:
  • an increased appreciation of life,

  • a diminished fear of death,

  • and a new sense of purpose (p. 123).

So on this first of December, how do you want to start this last month of the year? On the cusp of a new year, new decade...how can you learn from loss and gain some wisdom in the process?