Thursday, May 13, 2010

Getting past the pass/fail mentality

I had an interesting discussion with a friend of mine not too long ago. Actually, it's the same person I talk about in my previous blog post--- the friend I'm no longer friends with--- and the conversation was the last one that we had. It was a doozy--- but, in my never-ending quest to turn misfortune into life lessons I think I learned something valuable.

This is someone who feels like time has passed them by, and they no longer will be able to find that dream job, find the "right" partner, etc. Basically, this person has given up. I tried to convince this person that wasn't the case, but when someone has their mind made up that his/her life is really crappy--- it's hard to get him/her to think otherwise.

Here's my attitude… and I understand if others don't subscribe to this philosophy (trust me, I **know** I do not have all the answers). But IMO, life is NOT a pass/fail course--- at least when it comes to most things. Most of the time, you can't "fail"… because there is no limit to how many times or how long you can keep trying (until you pass away, of course--- but that's a whole other issue. ;)

Every stumbling block, every obstacle, every hole you fall into while you're trying to get to your goal… can be really frustrating and crushing. Trust me, I *know.* But if you choose to examine the obstacles more closely, they can also be incredible learning experiences that ultimately help you grow. They never have to mean that you've failed. Unless *you* decide to give yourself that "F"--- and give up.

In life, there are no referees on the sidelines ready to blow that final whistle. No judges declaring "game over--- stop all of your efforts now!" Only YOU can make that declaration. And if you truly want something more than life itself, why would you do that to yourself?

I understand the feeling of being knocked down and not wanting to get up again. I understand the feeling of being too tired to keep fighting a battle you don't think you will ever win. Those times are inevitable, and they are a sure sign that you need to take a rest and recuperate. Surround yourself with things and people that you love. Laugh. Remind yourself about what's important in life. Take as much time as you need (be it five minutes or five months) to regain your strength. Then get back up and get moving again.

Easier said than done, I know. But IMO it beats the alternative--- dwelling in misery and depression (and attacking people who you think are doing better than you are--- but that's another post for another time). Just a thought.
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