“The temptation to quit will be greatest right before you are about to succeed” Chinese proverb
On many a long summer day, I sit and simply watch my kids. I find myself mesmerized by their fearless approach to life. With eyes and arms wide open, they embrace their summer days with excitement and curiosity. I have watched them try new things ~ sailing, wake boarding, scuba diving, going off to new camps and the list goes on.
Each of these experiences has brought with it its own challenges, frustrations and failures. When my younger son first tried wake boarding and was asked how many tries he wanted, he responded ~ “As many as it takes!” When the time came to head off to camp, both boys were nervous to be in a new place, doing new things and not knowing anyone. They both also returned with such enjoyment from their camps which was that much sweeter coming on the heels of their nervousness.
I watch all this unfold with a little envy as I see more clearly now that many of us become more frozen with age. At what point do we start to become more self-conscious about our failures? When do we start to derive our self-worth from our achievements?
While non-action is a state of being ~ an active state of choice, inaction is driven by either fear or sheer laziness. We might become fearful that we will fail at something or look foolish to our peers and as a result we give up. Eventually, we cease trying at all. We lose our brazen, child-like approach to the world and become frozen with inaction.
As I watch the summer unfold around me with my children’s new and sweet experiences, I truly believe that their success does not lie in their actual achievements. But instead, their gratification and reward found in these experiences is in their overcoming the obstacles, in their persevering. Character is formed from the losses, the failures, the obstacles ~ and the sweetness of success is appreciated only after having experienced failure. Just as there is no courage without the presence of fear, there is no appreciation for success or victory without defeat.
Our children truly are our teachers. Perhaps we could all allow the summer heat to thaw where we have become frozen in life. Reconnect with your unabashed child and find your willingness to overcome your failures. Stop basing your worth on your successes and reclaim your boldness. Challenge yourself, go outside your comfort zone, be willing to look silly, be willing to fail. Who knows ~ you just might succeed.
“Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.” Thomas Edison