I love the motto “fail fast, fail often”.
Its been the driver behind a lot of what I’ve done in my life. There’s been many times that I’ve failed quickly to then turn right around and start again.
But…what do you do after you’ve failed just one too many times? That last failure that just destroys you. It destroys your confidence, your ability to make a decision and your ability to execute?
Whether you fail often / fast or just fail rarely and slowly…there comes a time for some folks when there is just one too many failures.
Recently, I fell into the ‘one too many’ failures trap. I got to thinking about the failures and feeling like there’d be no way to recover from them. I started thinking the dangerous “am I good enough” thoughts. I started wondering and doubting myself and my abilities.
Then…I took a walk. On that walk I saw a tree. This tree was an ordinary tree…except it was that was growing parallel to the ground and looked sort of like the tree in the photo above. Not quite as gnarled as that one…but close.
I stared at that tree for a good ten minutes. I looked at the tree trunk where it was bent and wondered what caused the bend…was it an accident that deformed the tree…or was it that the tree was forced to grow that way to get sunlight? Whatever reason, the tree overcame a lot of obstacles and has been growing in that spot for a good 20 years or more.
I walked down to that tree and put my hand on the trunk and ran it up and down. Not sure what I was ‘looking’, I explored the tree bark.
I was feeling pretty bad about myself. I was feeling pretty bad about my abilities. There I stood, rubbing a tree looking for answers.
And you know what….I got stung by a scorpion! He was the biggest scorpion I’ve ever seen. While I stood there being all introspective and rubbing a tree…that scorpion taught me a couple of lessons..
First, he taught me to stop rubbing that stupid tree.
Second, he taught me to stop feeling sorry for myself. I’ve got things pretty good…I have a good life, a wonderful wife and a loving family. I am able to pay my bills and I have some extra spending money in my pocket.
Failure may not feel so good, but don’t go out rubbing a tree looking for the answers. All you’ll find is more pain, perhaps from a scorpion…or maybe just pain from time lost that could have been better spent doing something to overcome your most recent failure.
That was one smart scorpion.
Image Credit: Crooked Trees By Scott Woods-Fehr