Dear Dark Dreamers,
Day late and a dollar short. I know. I missed yesterday’s post for the very best reasons, hopefully. It is not something I can go into yet, but I can promise you one thing about it, I have taken a chance, put myself out there to the best of my skills, and I hope the reap the rewards. However, if I don’t, that does not mean the end of chances and risks and yes, even heartache. Each semester, this has led me to teaching my students one of the most important lessons in life.
Successful people do not let life happen to them. They set out, work, strive and grow. AND FAIL. Yep, successful people fail, and fail often. If there is one thing that life taught me it’s that everyone needs to make friends with failure. The martial arts Master has to throw 999 crappy kicks to get that muscle memory to do it right. An inventor, like the late Steve Jobs and his army of engineers, had a multitude of failed prototypes before any of the iPhones became the successes they are. Even famous artists have many errors before their works become masterpieces. And I promise we hardworking authors have many drafts of words before it becomes a book, or even a blog post. It is an old adage but a true one, “The difference between a beginner and a master, is that the master has failed more times than the beginner has ever attempted.”
What makes us successful isn’t being perfect and never failing, it is in what we do when we inevitably trip and falter.
And isn’t this true for our characters as well? We want them to struggle. For things to be hard. For them to stare into the void of the impossible and keep going until they succeed. Even the famous monomyth is based upon the several trial failure/success structure. A character needs to strive and do everything they can to fix the problem and fail several times. The act of getting over the failure and becoming the master/mistress of two worlds through those lessons makes a hero/heroine as much if not more than just winning in the end.
One of the biggest falters in my life was starting over after Hurricane Katrina. Could no longer live in our fist house (which we’d only had for 3 weeks). Had to figure out where we were going to live and make a living all over again from scratch. Moved 6 times in 5 months. Had to fight both FEMA and the insurance company from a distance during all of that. Couldn’t even see what had happened to our house for almost a month. Then lived for a month, alone, with only my cat and an air mattress (and was in a different state from my new husband on our 1st anniversary as we tried to figure out what to do.) But I learned so much more about myself and what I was capable of after all that.
So, this week’s question: What is one time in your life where you faltered, but came back stronger?