Guillebeau wrote, “Failure is overrated. Embrace failure? Really? Whatever! Being the winner is better.”
Wow. I am nearly speechless, but want to express my deep sadness at hardships they will be forced to face as a result of such mercenary negativity.
I remember my first coach holding me back from competing. He said, that the competition was too thin, when we arrived at my first tournament. He said, “Winning a belt here like this will be the worst thing I could do to you as an athlete.” So, I sat there on the benches watching everyone else compete. One of my teammates didn’t heed Coach, and defeated several very easy opponents to claim the championship.
The next tournament we went to had a very challenging stable of fighters. I had doubled down on my preparation with coach, ready to face these seasoned competitors. My teammate who had become champion had stopped training altogether between the events, and strutted onto the mat as if wearing his champion laurels. He was humiliated by the decisiveness of his defeat.
Through my coach’s guidance, I only placed second, but two fighters, the third place and the first, took me aside because they wanted to tell me how impressed they were that a complete rookie would do so well in his first tournament, yet against highly experienced opponents. I didn’t earn gold, but I did earn respect, and determined to learn from that experience in all things.
People who believe and promote others with the “YES, MAN!” pop psychology face the only true failure: lack of awareness. Ignorance causes us to misperceive the trappings of material things to be victory.
“All the gold, and the guns, and the girls… Is it ever going to be enough?” astutely sings Metric.
Ignorance surrounds us with the appearance of sustenance but the feast lacks any nutrients, so we gorge and gorge, unable to ingest any real nourishment in the lifeless fodder. We drown in our gluttonous starvation. The self-cannibalistic “Be the Winner!” mindset is like this, slowly devouring ourselves with each unsatisfying, empty victory.
True success is the negative space invisibly concealed between failures. When we misperceive failures as obstacles to be avoided, we castrate ourselves of the potency to grow. Becoming a better person for the sake of others can only be learned through encountering the hardships of flaws, losses and mistakes. Only through failure do we learn compassion and awareness.
When I was a child, I had imagined that success would be the presence of material things surrounding me, or the liquidity to do anything I want whenever I wanted, go anywhere I want whenever I chose. But that is not success. That is merely a larger, deeper, more isolated grave. And I feel so badly for those who have dug their own.
Real success involves discovering your efficacy to generate abundance to spin growth off into the lives of others, to develop sufficient autonomy to be of service in the world. In that, I could be penniless and be rich. Through that, I could be surrounded by wealth yet not imprisoned by it.
Purpose. We each grow in and with Purpose. Our flaws, losses and mistakes teach us this beautiful guidance. Embrace them? Absolutely. Winning is the ultimate deception.