What is Failure?
Today I’ve been considering what failure means. I very often, okay pretty much always, end a competitive event and even training feeling like a “failure”. Sweet Sarah went out to ride a 100 mile mountain bike race in Colorado this weekend. Knowing the altitude would be killer, knowing it would be a brutal ride, she went. She trained and trained and trained. And had people warn her that she was going to “fail”. And she went anyway. She says she failed because the universe conspired against her and despite her body’s willingness to carry her thru, she had to turn back at 8 hours and didn’t finish all 100 miles. In my infinite nonwisdom I try to tell her it isn’t a failure. I will not tell her that I’m sorry she didn’t finish it the way she wanted. I hope she isn’t sorry that she went and tried. But I don’t say it eloquently. I say it like a 21st century illiterate dope. Then Joe comes back with a T. Roosevelt quote that says it so much better than I.
“It is not the critic who counts, not the man who points out how the strong man stumbled, or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes short again and again, who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, and spends himself in a worthy cause, who at best knows achievement and who at the worst if he fails at least fails while daring greatly so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.” Teddy Roosevelt
Isn’t it better to try and fail than not try? I have been a non try-er in a lot of areas of my life and that brings so many regrets. I’m proud of Sarah for trying so many new things this year. I want to be a try-er when I grow up.