What I Learned About Failure

Avoid Failing In Life By Avoiding This One Mistake

Image courtesy of Unsplash.

To progress we must be willing to make the decision to not look externally for meaning.

How many of us can state confidently that we know ourselves and the direction our hearts truly beckon? How many of us take the time daily to allow the radiant waves of our intuition to move seamlessly in sync with our daily actions? The truth is, not many of us. But why should such actions matter? Because true success, that which is in accordance with the interests and strengths that define us, requires it. To thrive we must be willing to search deep within for the magic that is uniquely our own. But alas too many of us live our lives not to confidently play the instruments of our soul, but to sheepishly silence our burgeoning allegro. For we see it more fit to play a silent requiem, so as to unconsciously pay homage to a dream deferred. Thus we seek failure unconsciously.

Thinking back to my time in college, the nature of this humanly flaw is so apparent, and yet impossible at times to perceive. During my Harvard convocation in 2012, the then dean of Faculty of Arts and Sciences uttered a simple phrase that has clutched to the depths of my mind for years: “Don’t compare, connect.” And yet, over the course of four years I spent my days constantly comparing myself to the peers that I should have been forming meaningful relationships with. The end result being that I spent four years losing a sense of who I was and what made me unique. I left college hopeful for a future that was not my own, but that of an amalgam of people who were not…me. I failed in not realizing that we each serve a unique purpose that adds meaning into the lives of those around us.

Don’t live to be someone who you were never destined to be. Move uniquely in your own direction.

True fulfillment in life comes from doing those things that only you can do. It may be difficult to perceive, but of the 7.5 billion people that mark this planet, each has a purpose. The odds of being who you are at this very moment is one in 400 trillion. Why then would you waste any time living a “dream” that is not exactly as you will it. You must be willing to suffer the pains of unique expression in a world where everyone unconsciously strikes the same note. Though conformity’s magnetic urges may shelter you in perceived comfort, your future realization of living a life unfulfilled will submerge you in the painful fires of regret. Ask yourself, then, how magnificent would this planet be if we all chose to add our own idiosyncratic light to the faltering rainbow of life.

“Look within. Within is the fountain of good, and it will ever bubble up, if thou wilt ever dig.” — Marcus Aurelius

We cannot delay in finding our own unique purpose. Our lives and that of humanity depends on it. It is discomforting that in our society we are always measuring our own progress in terms of how everyone else around us is doing. We look longingly and work determinately to have what others have, and to do what others do, losing sight of the rhythms that define our own march towards greatness. We work tirelessly for “firsts”, overlooking the “seconds” that fade constantly into an abyss of unrealized dreams. Seconds that we will never regain, no matter how much we plead or how earnestly we’d like to undo the time lost, losing ourselves. Don’t make my mistake: “Don’t compare, connect.” And never be afraid to be the only B major in a world of B minors.

“What everybody echoes or in silence passes by as true today may turnout to be falsehood tomorrow, mere smoke of opinion, which some had trusted for a cloud that would sprinkle fertilizing rain on their fields.” — Henry David Thoreau, Walden

This article originally appeared on Julesmbu.com