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Reflections on Failure



It is mid-April. And if I’m being honest with myself, it’s time to face the possibility that I might fail at my New Year’s resolution: standing within six feet of other people.

It hasn't been for lack of trying. Sometimes, it even seems like the harder I try, the more it upsets people.

That’s why I want to talk to you today about failure. First, what is failure? Failure is defined as almost getting away with something but then not getting away with it. Failure is usually caused by something somebody else did wrong. Other times, failure occurs because Jesus doesn’t love you anymore. Or because nobody told you that you had to pay taxes EVERY year.

The good news is that you can learn from failure. I say “you,” because although I have never personally experienced failure, I have read about it in scholarly textbooks and credible science magazines. Take it from me – in learning how other people’s mistakes have screwed you over in the past, you, too, will get closer to achieving success.

As for me, I believe I will succeed at standing within six feet of other people. Perhaps not now. And perhaps not without the element of surprise. Because success requires creativity, dedication. Patience. Resilience. A willingness to pretend you are deaf when people yell obscenities at you. Success stares into the eyes of impossibility and makes scary faces until the eyes of impossibility blink first. But if you’re too unsuccessful to be a success, that’s okay. You can still find a way to contribute to the achievements of others. Like my life’s work: building a time machine powered by the bitter tears of other people's failure.



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