Freak. Fudge. Freaking. Farfignugen. Feck. Freaking….
Socially conservative people, not in the political sense, find plenty of ways around saying the real thing, instead substituting made-up words and sound-alike words to communicate what’s really going on in their hearts.
A recent study in the UK showed that cursing is an emotional language that helps to alleviate the internal suffering or pain of a given situation. While I tend to agree with this study, and have written before about language and wisdom, I think we need to expand our understanding of what is one of, if not the most emotionally charged word in the dictionary: Failure.
Failure is the real F-Bomb.
No other word has spawned online communities dedicated to laughing at the plight of ourselves and others. No other word is the basis for which the anti-motivational series of posters and other memorabilia thrives. No other word is more present at the core of the great American dream. We wake up every day with a sense if impending failure, be it in our homes, at work, on our morning commute, at the golf course, or in church.
Perhaps the most notorious quote about failure was portrayed in the Apollo 13 movie when the flight director (Gene Kranz) in the Houston command center exclaimed, “Failure is not an option.” This message came at a pivotal moment about the survival of the 3 astronauts in the doomed Apollo 13 space craft. If you remember the movie, you’ll recall the boon of emotional energy that was created on screen, and in the viewers. Such a simple charge with overwhelmingly complex implications.
Though you and I might not be facing death in our daily lives as the astronauts were, we are facing something much worse: Being alive without a mission, going through each day just hoping to make it to the next, and the fear that if we do fail we will be scorned by our peers and perhaps even those closest to us. Make not mistake, failure is an emotional word; and it’s a bomb that left unaddressed will slowly eat away at your hope, dreams, and very sense of what you’re here on earth for.
It’s time to drop the F Bomb and get it out from festering inside and oozing apathy, self-pity, and complacency. As William Wallace said in the movie Braveheart; “every man dies, but not every man really lives.”
This is not a motivational piece intended to rah-rah you into another fast start towards that dream you’re avoiding, in fact it’s quite the opposite. Fast starts often lead to painful finishes. I remember running a mile race in 5th grade, and for the first 2/3 of the race I was smoking the hundred or so boys racing with me. I ran so hard and so fast that my lead vanished over the last 2-300 yards because I’d spent all my energy at the beginning. All of us will fail if we try to accomplish our dreams in one giant step or action. It’s a lifetime process that requires you taking steps today that will keep you able to make another step tomorrow.
Failure is an option, but it’s only failure if you do nothing or half-heartedly. Failure is actually our friend. Someone once told me that he viewed failure as a devilish looking creature that needed to hidden and kept silent. Such a wonderful description of what lives inside all of us. It’s hard to think about befriending something that looks like this picture. Who wants to invite this kind of creature to be seen?
The antidote to failure is to fail. Because inherent in failing is that we risk something. Without risk, we will not fail. As the mountain biking community says, “no falls, no balls.”
Karthi · May 16, 2012 at 7:45 pm
“With all due respect, Sir, I believe this is going to be our finest hour.”
This was Gene Kranz’ response to NASA Director’s comment,
“This could be the worst disaster NASA’s ever faced.”
I want this kind of perspective with my failures. Redemption shines bright like a candle in the dark. Thanks Samuel, for articulating this so beautifully.
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