Don’t be afraid to fail.
“I judge you unfortunate because you have never lived through misfortune. You have passed through life without an opponent- no one can ever know what you are capable of, not even you.” –Seneca, On Providence, 4.3
What Seneca is saying here is, “how can you know what you are made of if you have never been tried to a certain degree?”
As a young adult, in my early twenties, I am certainly still, “figuring things out.” I have gone through a wide variety of challenges in my young life.
I have failed a bit more than I would like to admit, unfortunately. The failures of my life are generally, fitness, school, sports, and life. In these areas, I have not always been at the “top of my game.” In looking forward to be my best self, I am researching ways that I not only reach this proverbial “top” more often, but sustain it. It is in this pursuit, I forget to look back and realize how far I have come.
It is important for us, as people, to not beat ourselves up over not reaching our highest, most outrageous goal. Sure, it would be awesome to be perfect in terms of reaching every goal ever made. But what would that teach us?
I am proud I have, as the kids say these days, “shot my shot.” I have gone up against Seneca’s ideal “opponent” many times, and I have failed. But it is pretty cool because now I know what to do when I meet this opponent again. Here is a little story about a small failure of mine attempting domestic life, and how I learned from it.
One morning, I was feeling incredibly ambitious (for those of you who don’t know me personally, most of my ambition manifests in the kitchen). The sun was shining, the birds were chirping, the kitchen was clean, and my stomach was growling. “Yes,” I thought, “I am going to make a seven-egg meat and cheese omelet.” Now, I like to think I am a cultured, five star chef who cooks on the space needle (shoutout to Farber). However, my cooking skills are probably average to above-average, at best. So, in more relatable terms: my cooking may not be the best, but it gets the job done. A seven-egg meat and cheese omelet would certainly top my accolades of tough foods made. Anyway, I went through all of my steps to make this omelet; cracking the eggs open perfectly, pouring the perfect amount of milk in my whisked eggs, and heating the pan to the correct temperature. Nothing was going to stop me from making this behemoth omelet. As I was waiting for the most opportune time to flip my omelet, I realized something. “Where is my spatula?,” I wondered, anxiously.
After about twenty minutes spent searching and burning eggs, I found my spatula.
For those of you still wondering (or even still reading at this point), I attempted the seven-egg meat and cheese omelet once more, and conquered it. So fourteen eggs and (only) one seven-egg meat and cheese omelet later, I realized maybe I should make sure I have all the supplies I need before I start cooking.
Now I know this is a pretty silly story, but it hits the main point I want to give in this post. Don’t be mad you failed on your first try at something. Learn from it, and do it right the next time. Not only do I know how to make pretty darn big omelets, but I have also related this borderline-irrelevant story to a famous quote from a renowned philosopher. Not bad for an afternoon post.
Don’t be afraid to fail!
This quote was taken from “The Daily Stoic” by Ryan Holiday. You can purchase it below.