Failure: What does it look like?
In a few days I’ll be running in a 30K road race, the oldest road race in North America, older than the Boston Marathon, Hamilton’s Around the Bay Race. If I’m successful it will be the first race I’m able to finish that’s greater than a half marathon. I’ve unsuccessfully tried two full marathons. I had to pull out due to injuries in both attempts. My first attempt at a marathon was ten years ago. In addition to injuries I’ve had other health setbacks. Once I recover I get back at it. If anything, I’m persistent. I won’t give up. I’ve completed two half marathons in my mission to run a full marathon. Running a marathon is on my bucket list. This 30K race will help me get there.
I refuse to fail.
If I never end up completing a full marathon but I give it my best I will not have failed. For me, failure will only come if I relinquish my dream without having tried my best. Sure, I may end up with some injury down the road or a health development that prevents me from running. But if I’ve continued to keep trying up until that day, I’ll consider it a success.
Much too often we stop striving for that seemingly elusive goal because it seems impossible. There are two things I’d love to see in this world. One is world peace, and the other is the end of poverty. It’s highly unlikely that I’ll ever see any of these in my lifetime.
Just because something isn’t likely, or is seemingly possible, doesn’t mean we shouldn’t strive for it.
Failure is not trying.
I’m not the only person who understands that we need to continue to strive towards those seemingly unattainable goals. There are advocates for peace, poverty, the environment, women’s rights, LGBT rights, First Nations issues, housing for homeless, and countless other issues that are easy to give up on. The problem is that there aren’t enough advocates. We all need to pitch in somewhere.
Failure is refusing to be part of the solution.
It’s easy to focus on our own problems, to curl up in our bed at night worrying about the many things that impact our personal lives. The reality is that we don’t live in this world by ourselves. We are global citizens. We are citizens of our own towns and villages. We don’t have a choice. We are citizens, and with citizenship comes responsibility.
Living in this world should mean we contribute to making it better.
Whether we’re driven by our faith or by the simple understanding that we are all connected in one way or another, it’s essential we understand that we have a responsibility to steward the world we live in and to respect the dignity and rights of all people. There are so many places where we can contribute to making the world around us better. There are opportunities to volunteer in each of our communities. There are global and local connections we can make, and causes we can support. The opportunities before us are limitless.
Failure is the refusal to accept our role as contributors and advocates for a better world. We may not see world peace or an end to poverty anytime soon.
But then again, if we all do our part, we’ll all be amazed at what might be accomplished. In the meantime, let’s give it everything we have.
Let’s not accept failure.