Fail, fail, fail, fail, succeed

Monthly Archives: January 2019

Resilience

The capacity to recover quickly from difficulties; toughness

I think we can all agree that this is a highly desirable trait – the question is, how do we achieve and maintain it, and what do we do when it runs out?

My first thought is that I believe resilience is highly correlated with self-efficacy – one’s sense that they have some control over their own outcome. In other words, if you feel like you can do something, you are more likely to bounce back from difficulties encountered in actually trying to do it. Conversely, if you feel powerless, you probably aren’t going to even try, much less show resilience at the first sign of trouble. If you feel like you have no power, then by definition you are going to feel like you are at the mercy of outside forces.

And of course there’s more than one kind of resilience – some people are mentally tough but physically weak, and vice versa. Let’s also be clear: some are born with a greater capacity for resilience than others, but that doesn’t mean that we all don’t share this trait to some degree.

Ultimately however, I think our capacity for resilience is most closely tied to our desire. If we want something badly enough, we won’t stop until we get it. No matter how much pain and suffering are dished out along the way. And if we want it badly enough, a good argument could be made that it’s not even that important whether or not we actually get it. The journey in working for it, and bouncing back from the painful failures we invariably encounter, becomes its own reward.

Maybe our ability to absorb pain and bounce back from it is the whole point – if so, perhaps we should celebrate what seems in the moment to be overwhelming stress and adversity as a test to see what we are made of.

Thanks

It’s always helpful when the patient makes a list of their medications for the triage nurse.

Requiem

You were carried into the night by the winds of misfortune

Only to be slowly swept away by the winds of time

New Years Day

As I get older this day seems to become more and more significant, but not in the traditional sense of making resolutions. No, it’s a bit more profound than that – at least to me.

Please understand that what I am about to say is not meant to be morbid, rather it comes from a place of gratitude – but I still know it’s going to sound harsh…

With the passing of each year, I understand that I am one year closer to death. Having lived to the age of 62, this thought is not abstract. But immediately on the heels of that realization is a second thought: how fucking grateful I am to have lived the life I had. It’s as if somehow knowing that the show is coming to an end makes everything sweeter and more important.

Granted, my life is far from over – I feel great and look forward to continuing to learn, fail, grow and succeed. But I’m not getting any younger, and beyond taking care of myself, there isn’t a goddamn thing I can do about that.

So the new year represents a reminder that this thing we call life is finite, and how we choose to spend what time we have here is entirely up to us. We have to savor each moment, each victory, each failure, each relationship and each experience.

We never know when this trip is going to come to an abrupt end. When it does you want to remember it as a life well spent, one you appreciated while you had it.

And don’t forget to tell someone you love them.