"A wise frog, Irwin, knows that success isn't final and failure isn't fatal. Our failures are meant to teach us lessons. And success is never-ending. There's always more that we can do." But Dharma'" I replied, "failure does sometimes feel fatal...like I'll never succeed at anything ever again." My wise teacher has an answer for everything, and so he launched into the meat of today's lesson.
"Most frogs, humans too, think that success is a destination you can reach, like getting on a plane and going to Rome. We think that "making it" is a tangible status but, in reality, Little One, it isn't. Perhaps you'd better to think of success as a mindset, not as a destination. Success is the mindset of always doing your best, whatever the outcome may be. Success means moving forward, despite the obstacles in your path. Success means learning from your mistakes. it means that you are growing and learning. Do you always do the best you can, Irwin? Do you learn from your mistakes? If you do, then you are indeed a very successful frog." I was becoming to feel a little better. Just then, however, Dharma began talking about failure...something I was hoping to forget!
"Failures are life lessons. They are meant to teach us things. Failure makes us stronger. How would we ever know the joy of success, if we didn't know what failure felt like? Success and failure are yin and yang; opposite sides of the same coin. Humans have a way of thinking that failure is the worst thing that can happen to them. Frogs often think that way, too. Humans like to tell themselves that failure is impossible to overcome. I have found, my son, that every failure happens for a reason; it's life's way of telling us that we have something to learn. Instead of being unhappy for failure, why not embrace it as a gift..the gift of knowledge; an opportunity to learn something new?"
Well, that was a new concept to me! I sure hadn't ever thought of failure as a gift! Rather, it felt like a dead weight hanging around my neck. But, I could see his point. We all have things to learn and life lessons are necessary, no matter how painful they are, if we want to grow and mature. Dharma reminded me that failure gives us the opportunity to dissect what went wrong, thus avoid doing it again. Just as success is a mindset and not a destination, failure needn't define us. It is merely an outcome. "Going back to the drawing board" isn't just a cliche, it's a nugget of wisdom. And very true. When something doesn't work out the way we hope for, then it's time to go back to the "drawing board" and look for another solution. Failure is simply an opportunity to look for a better way.
Dharma reminded me of my many past successes. He pointed out a few of my flops, as well. "You see, Irwin, these past failures didn't get you down. You continued on doing what you love...what you're meant to do. Why are these new obstacles causing you so much anguish?" I thought about it, and I really didn't have much of an answer but I knew that if I did a little soul-searching, I'd find out what the "Big Picture" lesson was that I was meant to learn. Sensing that I was beginning to feel more optimistic, Dharma finished up his breakfast and hopped off to his next appointment. His work for this week, at least with me, was finished
Sometimes all any of us needs is someone to give a little "kick in the pants", a not-so-gentle reminder that we are neither our successes or our failures. But that we are a sum of all our parts...the good ones and the bad. Yin and yang.