Failure? Keep It To Yourself.

We aren’t supposed to ever talk about our failures.

Actually, I should qualify that statement. We’re never supposed to talk about our failures, except as part of our eventual success story. We can then mention how many times things fell apart, or blew up in our faces, or never got off of the ground. We can do so as part of our success story because it is in the past, and people think it’s quaint or even inspirational to see how badly or how often the now successful individual at first failed. Edison and his light bulb. Lincoln and his various electoral defeats. The list goes on.

I suppose once in a while there is an exception granted to those who are mentioning how much wiser they feel because of their failure. What fantastic insights they received from not making it. And not making it. And still not making it. What wonderful people they are to be able to never do anything right, and yet still take something away from all of the experiences. Even if they haven’t attained their definition of success, (and each person’s own definition is allegedly the only that matters), we can admire how open minded they are towards failing.

It’s when people have done nothing, or almost nothing but fail, and are hurt by this which pisses people off. It doesn’t matter if somebody has tried to land a job 100 times in a row only to fail. If they are not happy about the “learning experience”, the conventional wisdom is that they should keep it to themselves. If someone has for years remained almost totally alone because most of their friends ended up shallow, and deserted them, a person isn’t supposed to be hurt. Or if they are hurt they are not supposed to tell us about it. Or blog about it or tweet about it.

Nobody wants to be around a gloomy person, says the enlightened set. We all get lonely. We all have friends abandon us. We all suffer. It’s what you make out of it that counts. You won’t attract positive things into your life if you let people know the negative.

Dust yourself off, wipe the blood from your nose, stand up straight and keep going. Even with the knife lodged firmly in your gut, there are plenty of people out there that have no gut to be stabbed. Be thankful you can feel the excruciating pain of being stabbed. Especially if in the back by loved ones. Because then you are fortunate enough to become aware of the fact that they didn’t love you in the first place. You didn’t need them in your life anyway. Now go read the cliche’ ridden Steve Jobs commencement speech for the 457th time.

In short, when people are not successful it is all their own fault. If they can’t see that and want to take a few moments or a few days to be upset about their lot in life, they can fuck off because they are harshing everybody’s mellow.

How wonderful to be so bullet proof. Especially when those dispensing that advice are sitting in the brand new car they can afford because of their dream job which they obtained by happening to smile at the CEO of the company in an elevator that got stuck long enough for them to deliver the pitch of a lifetime that they had been rehearsing just that morning. (Oops, sorry. I forgot that luck has zero do to with getting what we want.)

As a society, especially the current generations, we avoid people who are struggling like we avoid a stumbling drunk with a hacking cough in the subway station. We simply cannot risk that either their sadness or their inability to catch a break getting onto our clothes and contaminating our life. Like that drunk, surely it is the fault of every failure that they are in the predicament they find themselves in. And if it isn’t, we don’t want to hear about it, because that might mean we have to experience something that is out of line with our “up by the bootstraps” wet dream we have been selling one another for years and years.

The fact is people get beat down, robbed, fooled, abandoned, betrayed, deprived and demonized to the point that it’s impossible to obtain anything they want or even need. Often for no better reason than they interfered with some positive-thinking guru’s trajectory and had to therefore be shuttled off into the obscure corner of, “not trying hard enough” and its neighbor in the dark warehouse of denial “they’re not thankful enough.”

We must keep going. We must keep trying when life doesn’t work, of course. But does anyone consider any of these possibilities:

1) A person can get to the point when they have tried, with a smile plastered on their face, every last option of which they are aware, and have no idea what to try next.

2) That it is natural to be angry, sad, depressed and afraid once they get to that point, as well as to express those feelings to other people.

3) Expressing those fears to a willing audience may just be the thing that turns them around. That audience may have that one bit of advice they didn’t seek elsewhere.

Yet we don’t get that benefit of that assumption. Because we mustn’t ever, EVER become discouraged about out failures. Actually, nobody ever actually fails in the first place…I keep forgetting that.

 

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