I think of my life as a work-in-progress story with this title. As a series of failures, dotted with some intermittent successes before finally making it big.
It's long and boring and needs editing — but that's the way in which I summarise it. Struggle, some bright spots along the way, and finally, contentment.
Sounds great, right? Yes! In theory, it does.
But in practise, the times I failed are tough. So I need this story to help me see the end in the beginning.
What does "made it" mean? The definition evolves. When I was young, it was something like "happiness". Then it became a few material things, like a few houses in different parts of the world. And now, it's evolving into a sense of contentment with myself.
But what's for sure is that on the path to whatever it is, I've had many failures along the way.
I've been let go from jobs, lost money on investments, and tried many things that didn't work. I've avoided things that in hindsight would have been fantastic — jobs, businesses, educational opportunities. I've wasted time. I've made bad decisions listening to my gut as well as listening to logic.
And that's OK. It's OK for me to think of my story as one that's a work in progress, and whose final chapters are yet to be written. And it's OK to be mired in a phase of what are, objectively speaking, failures.
On social media, people write about little failure stories in convenient, ultimately positive snippets. "We learned many lessons," is the common refrain, "And now we're doing great."
In this ad, Michael Jordan talks about how he has missed more than 9,000 shots in his career, lost almost 300 games, and been trusted 26 times to take the game-winning shot only to miss.
And in the end, of course, he becomes Michael Jordan.
But what you don't read is about the people who didn't become Michael Jordan, or who don't even have a much smaller heart-warming short-term success on which to end the anecdote.
Before every new job, round of investment, or acquisition, there's sometimes a gruelling period of just... nothing. Stress, anxiety, time wasted. And sometimes that final good news doesn't come, and the "lessons learned" post is never made.
Sometimes, the only lesson to be learned is that life is hard and sucks sometimes.
But it's ok. The story is still being written. That final chapter is coming!