An Ode to Discouragement
We all feel discouraged from time to time.
I feel the most discouraged when I have stretched myself and attempted to do something new creatively. I just don't measure up to the creator I'd like to be when I reflect on what I created. In the past these feelings have transformed my daily routine into days, sometimes weeks or months, of creative stasis and self doubt. What I have failed to see is that I should be so lucky to brush up against my limitations and see them so clearly. I should be so lucky to see the limits of my knowledge because the creator I would like to become is on the other side.
There was a time that I would hide and hope that failure would never visit me. I would welcome a perfect thought over an uncertain future. Today I keep a checklist of the knowledge I need to extend in order to succeed. I look at my shortcomings the way a CEO would look at his workforce. I ask what I'm doing right and what I could be doing right, but am at present not doing in the most skillful way. What can I change to create a better outcome? There is my perfect consciousness and there is me, the flawed human being. My imagination could climb mountains in an instant. In reality, I can only ascend the mountain one step at a time.
No one can grow without failing. If we are to be successful at anything, that success will be measured by what we learned from our mistakes. The point is not to avoid failure, but to accept the reckoning of each failure and improve with the knowledge we acquire from it. The more we do, the more we learn. The more we learn, the more able we are to succeed.
Rather than be discouraged, we need the courage to fail and the humility to be mindful students of our mistakes, however large or small they may be.