A Virtuous Cycle of Failure

“The purpose of life is to be defeated by greater and greater things.” – Rainer Maria Rilke

If you’re not “failing” you’re likely not doing anything worthy of your efforts and talents.

Consider you have two (at least… ) sacred aspects: your labor and talents.

Your labor is your effort, your hard work, your doing – you actually moving.

Your talents are the things you do very well, and that you enjoy – and most importantly, allow you to enjoy yourself (there’s nothing so rewarding as you doing something well and realizing it at the time).

And now, a note about “failure:” many people hear the word and think shame and regret (of some degree)… of putting themselves “out there” and it not working out.

Please replace that definition and mode-of-thinking with the following:

Realize that every action produces a result, so there’s really no such thing as failure, there are only undesired or unintended results. But it’s all information just the same.

Everything we do has a lesson in it, if we look and are willing to learn.

So, to circle back to Rilke’s wisdom above, if you’re going to “fail” – and thus, as I suggest, learn – why not reach a little higher and further each time.

I like to think that Rilke was being a bit playful when she chose the word “defeated” above, or at least she has her own, less-than-conventional definition of the word.

I imagine she sees defeat as an athlete sees conditioning their body and growing their capability: muscles, coordination and personal resolve must be tested and exhausted in-the-moment so they will grow stronger. And to work hard is to grow in strength and fortitude.

Thus defeats (“failures”) lead to victory.

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