Here’s a couple of thought streams I can have within two minutes of each other:
“I want help reclaim masculinity! I want to change the perception that men are toxic and dangerous. I want men to love the church and be more involved and confident in their pursuit of the truth. I want to see real change in men’s lives and see that translate into change in their families and careers!”
“I’m a 41 year old screamo singer and podcaster! WTF do I know! I need to stay in my lane and either make people cry with my song lyrics or make them laugh with an off color joke I make on my podcast.”
This is an example of how my brain works. How easily I can feel excited, motivated, and courageous. Then in the next minute I can lose all of my courage by telling myself I’m not enough. That I’ll mess it up or get it all wrong. That people will realize I’m not that great. The real war in my head is that I will fail. That I will not be able to accomplish my goals and maybe end up looking like a fool. Now the uncomfortable truth is that I will fail. Failing hurts me so bad. I mean I hate it. I don’t want to even come close to it. It’s so stupid.
It’s because I have a tendency to wrap my identity in my successes. Hell yeah I’m a screamo singer! My band has sold over 500k records! You’ve also probably heard me on the very popular BadChristian Podcast. I was a Christian cusser before any of you assholes and now 75k+ people listen in each episode to hear it! See that feels good. I mean like a fresh, warm Krispy Kreme donut good. When I succeed others take notice and I get more respect and my ego is fed just a little bit. Also, when I can stick to success and away from failure, I don’t have to worry about working harder or revisiting something that I might have missed. I don’t have to experience and go through growth pangs. I don’t need anyone to rely on and I get to be THE MAN! So, why as I’m writing this and you are reading it, do we both get the feeling that success seems like it can be empty? That linking me to my successes, might mean there’s not much real me inside.
It’s because failure is everything! Shit how many times have I heard something like that:
FAILURE ISN”T FALLING DOWN, IT”S REMAINING WHERE YOU’VE FALLEN.
FAILURE IS NOT FINAL, UNLESS YOU GIVE UP.
THE ONLY REAL FAILURE, IS THE FAILURE TO FAIL.
FAILURE IS SUCCESS IN PROGRESS
FAILURE BUTT OFF. THEN FART IN FAILURE’S FACE.
Okay I made up the last one. I know what I’m saying here isn’t new or groundbreaking. But I want to clarify one thing that others have failed to do. Pun intended. Failure hurts awfully bad. IT SUCKS. It’s not fun. You might actually look stupid and people might say you are stupid. You might lose money. Maybe a lot of money. You might actually quit the job or thing you were trying to create and quit it forever. You might lose friends or loved ones. You will wish you could take it all back.
Likewise, you don’t succeed immediately after a failure. In fact it can take a long, long time to get past a failure and move into a new success. When you fail you will carry at least a little part of that failure with you for the rest of your life and it will try to pop up out of your past and whisper in your ear to say, “you’ll be seeing me again soon.”
One of the worst things that comes out of failure is that after you fail it is easier to think you’ll fail again. You failed once or twice so what will be different this time?
You will fail again. That’s just the truth. It will suck,
There it is. Failure doesn’t go away or necessarily make you stronger or better. But it does teach you what not to do. What to do better and how to handle that next failure. Failure teaches you that your identity isn’t only in your successes. That if you only succeeded then you’d basically be a Kardashian and thats just gross. Failure means you’re human and you need other humans. Failure means that you didn’t get it right, but that maybe you could. Because failure is just as attainable as success. You can do both and doing both is probably the right place to end up. You will fail, but you will also have success. So don’t worry or concern yourself with either. Enjoy the ride, be yourself, and learn.