Friday, March 16, 2007


Failure and I are pretty good friends. I met him some time ago, while still a young kid. He’s not such a bad guy, really, though many people are afraid of him. I have spent most of my life afraid of him but over the last decade I have learned to accept him as a part of life.

About 10 years ago I traveled with a group of men to Arizona for a working retreat. There we were to learn more about each other, do some strategic planning for the future, address some industry problems we were facing, and learn to trust each other more by going through one of those intense obstacle courses. Mixed in with all that ‘work stuff’ was golfing, hot-air ballooning and massages in the spa. Miss those work trips.

Anyway, during the obstacle course session, one of the things we had to do was hook up a harness to our body (with a tether line connected to save us should we fall), and shimmy up a 50 foot telephone pole. There were strategically placed metal steps jutting out a few inches going up to the top of the pole. At the very top of the pole was a wood disc, about 3 feet in diameter, laying flat on the top of the pole but remaining very wobbly- it had one large bolt holding it on in the middle. The goal was to get all the way to the top, and then somehow, without falling, crawl on top of the disc, and while shaking like a tree in the wind, get up off all fours and stand straight up.

I watched person after person fail with only one successful participant before me. Suddenly it was my turn. There was no doubt in my mind I would be meeting my friend Failure soon. Up I went. Amazingly I did it. Got to the top, stood up, and had a wonderful feeling of victory. Victory- even over small things- can create a feeling so intense that it feels like it will last forever. It doesn’t. It is fleeting, and no one has the power to make the feeling stay longer that it alone decides is proper. If they try, another ‘person’ shows up, and his name is Delusion.

Failure on the other hand can stay around as long as a person wants. Rather than Failure deciding when to leave, it’s up to the host to show him the door when he or she feels the time is proper.

The guide at the course instructed each victor that reached the top of the pole to tell everyone one thing they were afraid of, and then jump into the air and plummet the 40 feet before the tether and harness prevented death at the hand of the hard earth 50 feet below. I yelled out “I am afraid of Failure” and leaped into the air.

I wouldn’t say that event alone removed my fear of Failure. Rather, it was that day, and all the days that followed wherein I grew and matured, and learned to welcome Failure as a part of life, greet him, say hello, and immediately show him the way out.

One more thing- he visited last night. I have one goal for this blog- not to get X number of visitors, or to achieve notice or even a Blogger ‘Blogs of Note’ mention. My only goal has been to faithfully publish one post a day. Yesterday I totally forgot and failed. I went ahead and back-dated this post to make it look like it went up yesterday to feel better about my friend visiting.

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Liza on Maui said...

Hah! I knew you missed a day - I visit daily :)

Your posts are a treat - it's fun to read, sometimes informative, sometimes inspirational, and sometimes just fun.

Keep up the good work. I agree about back-dating though. That'll make the ledger look good :)

Anonymous said...

I agree with liza - your posts are a treat. You have the gift of storytelling.

You set yourself a goal of 1 post per day. You missed a day. I know the feeling of not meeting a goal, especially an important one. It's true what they say though: how you handle failure is what defines the failure. Or something like that.

I try to post daily but now give myself permission to skip Sunday if I feel like it. Sometimes I do this if I know the next week will be busy and I want to get a start on some posts. I try to stockpile posts but so far I can't seem to get more than 2 or 3 done at a time.

You write good stuff and I don't know about you but my writing takes time!

DigitalRich said...

Thanks you guys. I appreciate your kind words, and your regular visits and comments. They are always encouraging.

My writing doesnt take much time really- for me its all about figuring out what I want to write about, and if there is an element to it that is either meaningful or funny. Once I decide on what it is, the words flow out so fast its amazing- maybe a few minutes tops. Its like there is someone in my head telling a pre-written story to my typing fingers. Kinda cool. Maybe a bit creepy. Now that I think about it, its really creepy.


Thanks again.


Christa said...

I wouldn't have noticed, I'm a once-every-3-or-4-days kinda visitor. . .

But I love your posts. :)Thanks for cheering up my day whenever I decide to stop by.