Who Am I?
When I was very young, maybe five or six, I had a thought: your failures define how good a life you have.
It’s through failures and mistakes that you learn. These, or how you act and react to them, make the real difference.
So, you work to not repeat the bad parts.
You are NOT your failures and mistakes; but they are the things that make you different from everyone else. You need to learn quickly that the real problem with most people is that they keep trying to do the same things and expect different results.
Some people may look at my seventy-plus years of living and see someone who is not successful. If you measure success by huge amounts of income and accumulated wealth, then, for sure, I’m not successful.
I’ve traveled over most of the world. And most of that travel has been paid for by others. I’ve played various games at professional levels, even made money at them, and had a reasonable career, enough to keep my wife and children on a reasonable level of comfort. I’ve been a writer — poet, technical writer, ghost writer, short story writer, and more.
Most of all, I’ve found new ways to make mistakes and looked at how I can avoid repeating them.
It all goes back to the realization at five or six that life is about finding ways to fail.
And that the best are the Magnificent Failures.
They are magnificent, because they opened the doors to seeing how to recover from them, and do things better than I could before.
Not that many years ago, I was playing chess with one of my grandchildren, and the child was disappointed because I won the games.
‘You can’t DO that, grandpa!’ came the words after the third or fourth time “You’re supposed to give me a chance to win!”
‘Because I’m young and I deserve to win a few games.’
‘Then learn the lesson.”
“That you start winning when you learn all the ways to lose.’
‘But how can I do that, if I keep losing?’
I smiled. ‘What did you do wrong? It’s not that I’m a much better player than you are. It’s that I made fewer mistakes. But you’ll never win, until you learn how to lose.’
Oh, I’ve played chess with my other grandchildren, and it has led to the same lesson — learn all the ways of losing first; the better you learn these, the greater your chances of winning a game or two.
Nowadays, of course, they all can beat me in chess, more often than they lose. But there is one thing for sure: they all still expect to lose, even when they win. They are ready for those magnificent failures.
Maybe I don’t have as much of the trappings of success as many other people. Like my grandkids, I’m still looking for ways to lose. But I keep on trucking, and have a great time doing it, and keeping up a meaningful life!