Go on failing. Go on. Only next time, try to fail better.
That Samuel Beckett knows how to turn a phrase, doesn’t he? I remember reading his play, Waiting for Godot, in high school and being completely flummoxed and transfixed at the same time. A play about nothing, yet I couldn’t stop reading it. A total pre-cursor to shows like Seinfeld and The Simpsons where the end point is nowhere near the beginning and you’re often unsure how you got there, but the journey was damn entertaining.
Beckett’s quote is a good reminder for me, particularly because Waiting for Godot, now considered his most famous play, opened to decidedly mixed reactions. Whether it was a success or failure depended on who you asked and on what day of the week. By the time Beckett won a Nobel Prize for Literature in 1969, some probably thought him an “overnight success”, but he began writing critical essays in 1929 and Godot wasn’t published until 1952. No matter where he was in his life or career, he kept on writing.
That’s a good lesson for me today.
I grew up being good at a lot of things, so success sometimes felt like a given. But that also meant I didn’t get accustomed to failure. I took losing really hard, and often didn’t want to do new things because I was scared I wouldn’t succeed. But my parents reminded me that you can learn just as much from failure as success. No quitting, no fear. No matter what, you keep trying because even if you don’t become the best, you always get better.
The Roommate reminded me of the subjective nature of this work as I informed him of my latest writing rejection. Good advice as always, but I love him for also agreeing that it sucks too. 🙂
So to remind myself that this isn’t the end of the world and in the spirit of the upcoming holiday, here’s what I’m thankful for:
- An adventurous spirit and the ability to summon bravery in the face of the unknown.
- The knowledge that while the blows might send me to my knees, it’s only temporary.
- My skills and talents.
- The love and support that surrounds me.
What more could I ask for?