Friday, September 22, 2006

The Converse of Success…

With all of my talk about success, I’ve never sought to point out failure, or someone I thought was a failure. The point of the book I’m writing isn’t to point at success and say, “There! That’s what it is. That’s what you need to achieve.” Rather, I want to create a dialogue that approaches what success could be. And I’m not even trying to get near failure.

Who would want to?

But then, of course, it happened. And it was right in front of me. Failure – writ large – right in front of my eyes.

Which is why I finally decided to write about it, because the example is so clear. Like success, failure isn’t a thing – it’s a state. And just as you hope to find success one day, I think it’s a natural reaction to hope that someone who is a failure will leave that state with great rapidity.

We have probably all known a failure or two. Most of the time, it’s something simple – along the lines of just fucking up, blowing it. So, failure as a concept is pretty simple to reconcile. I think if I was going to define the most profound state of failure, I’d say that it is the state in which a person is so lost to their own needs and best interests that they have created a perpetual no-win situation for themselves. Personal entropy. Extreme suckage.

So, there’s this person I know. I shouldn’t really feel bad for her, she’s brought her situation on herself, but I do. She finds things in life she wants, disregards her motivations and best interests, and goes for them, no matter who gets hurt (including herself). I’ll give you an example. She wanted to have a kid so bad she had one with the first sperm donor that came along. She didn’t think too much about being a parent and has since discovered that she hates it.

You see, she created her own failure condition.

She used to be Megan’s best friend. When Megan was sick, she didn’t reach out a hand in friendship and, though she’s a medical professional, she didn’t try to help Megan’s medical condition. She just ignored her… and Megan died. She found out about this because Megan died in her hospital and Megan’s file happened to pass by her desk.

So, she failed as a friend.

Then, Sean told her that (though he’d allow her to pay her respects at Megan’s memorial service) he never wanted to see her face or hear from her again. She used to be an integral part in this group of people but, because of her disregard for her sick friend, she’s now ostracized.

So, here’s a person who has put herself in a situation where she’s lost her friends, has a child she doesn’t want, doesn’t consider the long-term ramifications of her actions but simply reacts to impulses from her Id like a child… and is, as a result, miserable. In fact, until she breaks this cycle, she’ll always be miserable – and she won’t know this until she breaks the cycle.

That’s failure, without a doubt.

1 comment:

Jenn from WA said...

The worst kind of failure to me is one in which one doesn't learn from it. What's that saying...Fool me once shame on you. Fool me twice shame on me. Same thing goes from failure. Some of the most significant growth I've made as a human has been due to failure.