“Failure should be our teacher, not our undertaker”- Doyle Brunson
There are thousands, upon thousands of motivational quotes about failure. But the one I noted above from Poker legend Doyle Brunson is my favorite. In his understated, folksy way he boils it down to one simple truth, failure shouldn’t bury us.
In 55 years of living I have learned two important lessons, you can’t fail if you don’t try and if you aren’t trying then what the hell are you doing. The other lesson I have learned is failure becomes harder to overcome the older you get. Why is that? Pride, ego, security, dignity, self-esteem, self-respect, self-worth, in short the big I in the id.
My children are all in their early to mid-twenties, out trying to find their way and place in the world. My oldest is in the process of buying a home, a nerve–racking exercise that, in her mind, has just as many negative implications as positive. I asked her the other day what was the worst thing that could happen to her if she bought the house? Honestly, I was surprised by her list.
Here is what I told her; you are young, if something bad happens you have time to recover and move up and on. At this stage in your life time is your friend, your ally, use it to your advantage. Time has a value, a currency. You may believe you are cash poor but you are time rich.
I pick my opportunities for failure much more carefully now. Time isn’t my ally. I have neither a lot of cash or time in my savings account. That doesn’t mean I don’t walk out on the edge anymore, I just pick the width of my edges more deliberately.
Every journey we begin has the potential to end in failure, but they also have the opportunity to end in a glorious conclusion. Most journeys start with one step into the unknown, into the dark. As the years have added up I have noticed my eyes growing dimmer, not afraid of the dark but certainly more comfortable in the light or at least in the shade. I used to stress about this but I don’t anymore because I am still here, helping my children navigate their own journeys when they ask for my guidance or standing on the sidelines cheering them on.