What is your favorite personal failure and why?
Gail Boenning
5655

Starting a business strikes me as a very intimidating endeavor. I’ve never done it, but I have helped run the family business for some time, and that’s stressful enough for me. Kudos to you for trying! A lot of people wouldn’t have the guts to give it a go.

As for me, it isn’t my favorite failure, but my biggest one, by far, was when I failed to gain control over my OCD when it nearly ruined me about a decade ago. I thought it was going to be a passing episode, so I used all the normal strategies I depended on for dealing with it, but they didn’t work. Over the next few years, everything spiraled out of control. I lost almost every friend I had, burned through my savings until I was dead broke, and was very, very close to voluntarily checking myself into a residential program. Things didn’t really start to turn around until about two years ago, but I have been making some progress, albeit in small doses.

The interesting thing to me is just how different I’ve become over that time. Ten years ago, I was addicted to sports, enjoyed hanging at bars with my buddies, and did a lot of hiking. I ate burgers and cheesesteaks all the time, and I loved video games.

Now I have to admit that I do still love video games, lol, but that’s about the only thing I have in common with my old self. Today, I’m a vegetarian who spends most of my free time reading science fiction novels, studying philosophy, doing meditation, writing, and lifting weights. If you went back in time and told me that this is the person I’d become, I would have laughed at you. But that was before the OCD kicked into high gear, and I know that’s what sparked all these changes in me.

In any case, I can’t say I’m grateful for the experience, mostly because my body suffered a lot as a result of what I went through. But if I’m being honest, I do feel like my perspective on life is way more sensible and healthy than it used to be, and I am definitely grateful for that.