Whenever the New Year rolls around everyone gets caught up in the newness of a potentially fresh start. Many are busy fashioning resolutions or, the new trend, picking a word to focus on for the rest of the year. Commit. Encourage! Lose weight. Oh wait, that’s two words.
It’s known that New Year’s resolutions don’t last very long at all. People who go to the gym know this in spades. Come January, you have to stand in line until someone gives up a piece of cardio equipment. However, in just a few weeks, it will be like crickets chirping again and those aerobic instructors would be happy if crickets did show up to their classes so they’d have someone to teach.
I think in current American society, examining failure is passe. First of all, no one is a failure! Every child gets a trophy. Every child is equally good at everything. Authors are happy to post negative reviews on their Facebook page, not to say, “This person had something valid to say about my novel and I’m going to learn from it,” but rather as proof of how idiotic the reviewer was. Other authors gripe and complain when their book covers get nominated for “Worst Cover” awards. I don’t know. I’ve seen some of those covers and those just might be valid nominations.
Is this really learning? What is the value in learning from our mistakes?
I think we need to get back to not dismissing failure out of hand. My own reasons for failure are, if I’m honest, rarely external. They’re internal. I am the reason I failed.
Let me give one example everyone can attest to: weight loss. I’m not at my goal weight. I haven’t been for years. Why is that? I actually go to the gym regularly. Typically, three days a week. I don’t eat out often. Why am I not a size 4? Or, even a single digit size?
How many times have you heard these excuses? I’m too busy. It’s hormones. Gym memberships are too expensive. I’m big boned! It’s my thyroid. It’s genetic. Everyone in my family is overweight.
What are the real reasons? I’m lazy. I don’t want to cut refined sugar out of my diet. Soda is my one bad habit (and therefore I should keep it). It’s been a long day–I deserve (insert sugary, decadent treat here).
The reason we’re falling short on all our good intentions is largely because we haven’t accepted the reasons we’ve failed at them in the past.
Why isn’t your book published? These days, there is no reason why you can’t get your words out there with indie publishing. You literally cannot have an excuse.
So what’s holding you back?
What I encourage you to do at the beginning of this year is look at that big dream you’ve been holding onto with everything in you and do an honest analysis of why you haven’t achieved it yet. I challenge you to first list five things that pertain to yourself.
So, if you’re brave, in the comments section share your unachieved dream and give a short failure analysis. How will you change these items to get closer to your dream by the end of 2015?
I think that will be better than picking a new resolution.
9 Replies to “Failure Analysis”
My unachieved dream is getting my next book published. I’ve been focusing on traditional publishing. In 2015, I will learn how to indie publish it.
Me, too, Henry! Please– let’s keep in touch and let me know how your journey on the indie road is going.
Jordyn, these are some of the wisest words on New Year’s resolutions that I’ve read yet! Amen, figuring out why we’ve failed at something in the past should be at the top of those lists! Good work!
Thanks, Shellie. Coming from you . . . that means a lot to me.
As a spiritual director I totally endorse stopping to look back and see where we failed, but we need to ask deeper questions than that. I prefer asking myself, “Where was God in this? Was it His plan for me, or was I responding to my own needs or the pressure of others to do this?” Rather than driving ourselves and attacking our character when we don’t lose weight, write so many words a day, or get a contract–let’s accept ourselves and be grateful for who we are, shaped and loved by the God of grace.
I think this is all good advice but somehow I know that the things I want to do or think I need to do are not always in God’s plan. So instead of beating myself up, I have learned to walk in the idea that everything is Divine and Perfect Order. He decides. I show up but He is the deciding factor in all I do. Some of the things I feel I have failed at, are things that God did not gift me in to begin with or are not on His list of my accomplishments. People (adults especially) tend to take total responsibility for our “failures” and spend precious time dwelling on those and punishing ourselves or pushing for something that just does not work out. I have done that and it is a waste of time. I don’t make New Year’s resolutions. I turn my life, my work and my to do list over to the only lover of my soul. Now to some that may seem like ditching responsibility for failure. To me it is walking the only path that offers lasting success – Kingdom success. Requires humility to admit “every single” victory is His. That may deflate some sails. But it also softens the flogs when I beat myself up because I dwell on failure.
I agree with you about the negative ways we can beat up on ourselves. I’ve been training myself, and others, to look at how God loves me, affirms me, wants my heart more than anything. When I focus on my failings and compare how little I feel I’ve accomplished as I look at others–I know I’m way off spiritually. He doesn’t count how many articles or books we write (or whatever it is that makes us feel bad or good about ourselves) but rather where is my heart? If it’s to live for Him using our gifts and opportunities because He is worthy of our lives, then that is enough!
Poppy Smith, I like your response and put mine under yours. I hope that is okay with you. You really are spot on by my lens.
Great discussion, ladies. I enjoyed the points that you made.
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