" We will open the book. Its pages are blank. We are going to put words on them ourselves. The book is called Opportunity and its first chapter is New Year's Day."
- Edith Lovejoy Pierce
As the new year begins, so does the tradition of creating New Years Resolutions. I do not know about you, but I can tell you that I RARELY stuck to a new years resolution for an entire year. Naturally, about four years ago, I stopped making them. That was, until last year. Last year, a blogger started an idea that instead of making a New Years Resolution which we never keep, why do we not instead pick word(s) or ideas that will motivate you throughout the year. As Oprah would say, that was an ‘Ah-Ha’ moment. I did it last year, and I have decided that it worked so well last year, that I would do it again this year, and share it with others!
So here it is. My word for 2012: Fail. Yes, I said fail, as in, to not succeed. You probably think I’m crazy, but follow me. All throughout our lives, we are taught to reach our goals, to achieve our own greatness. I am 100% on board with that. I want to be successful, but by my own definition of success. As most people, I have been thinking about the past year or so and the common theme was, I have been successful. Everything I truly attempted to accomplish, I did. That’s a problem.
Growing up, I never wanted to lose. The one thing I learned as a small child was to win at all cost, even if that meant cheating, because if you lost, well then you were a loser and losers were not cool. Oh the joys of childhood. I believe that as I have grown into my adult years, this concept has not changed. As I write this, I cannot help but think how ridiculous it is to believe in that thought. While analyzing my life, I have determined that I have begun to live my life cautiously. I have not failed at a goal in at least the past two years. What kind of life has that become? A comfortable life. I life of certainty.
I do want to get something straight here. When I talk about failing, I’m not saying that I am going to take a paycheck and go the the Meadows Racetrack and Casino and gamble it all away to say ‘Look at me! I failed!’ I’m talking about pushing myself past my limits. Pushing myself outside of my comfort zone. So for instance, I have recently decided that I will attempt to snowboard. I cannot help to think that I will fail at this attempt. However, the probability that I will fail has added anticipation to the event. To me, by attempting I will have succeeded, whether I spend all day on my backside (highly likely) or boarding down the mountain (highly unlikey). It does not mater, because I’ll be okay. The sun will still rise in the morning. My life will continue. I have been thinking of ideas and I believe that I have a nice little list created. I am excited to execute the tasks listed. I’m excited to see how badly I can fail.
This all came about due to two individuals Steve Kamb and J. K. Rowling (creator of Harry Potter, need I say more?). Recently, I have listened to the J.K. Rowling 2008 Harvard Commencementspeech and it was one of the most inspirational videos I have seen in a very long time. (Note: If you haven’t listened to this yet, stop right now and go listen to it. You can thank me later!) My favorite quote? "It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all – in which case, you fail by default." Steve is the creator of Nerd Fitness who wrote an article called ‘Fail more, Suck Less.’ He digs deeper into why failing is a good thing and inspires you to want to fail. My favorite quote from the article is: “Once you realize that you didn’t die, that it’s not the end of the world, that there’s no lasting damage other than to your ego…the risk of failure suddenly doesn’t bother you as much.”
If there is one thing that I have learned from the times when I have failed (which is quite a few) it is that I learned more from my failures than I have from my successes. Failures teaches a person their weaknesses. It teaches us the aspects of life that could be improved upon. Being successful without having failed first, teaches you that what you were doing was enough. Improvement in what you were doing is not required. So it is time for me to start taking risks again. Start giving myself the opportunity to fail.
This year, try something new. Don’t go through the motions and create anotherNew Years Resolution which you have no desire to keep, but choose a word or an idea to motivate you through out the year to improve your life.
Some examples could be:
Thankful - to be more thankful for the blessings in your life.
Balance - to find more balance in your life.
Freedom - this could be financial freedom, freedom from your past, freedom from whatever is holding you down.
Organization - to make 2012 the year you finally get organized.
The possibilities are endless. When you decide on your word, write it down. Put it some place where you will see it everyday. Remind yourself everyday of that word. Make this year the year where you are motivated all 365 days (I know it’s a leap year, so you get a freebie day!).
So that's it. That's my word. That's my reasoning. So go. Go now and choose your own word(s)! And DO NOT be afraid to fail!