Showing posts with label failure. Show all posts
Showing posts with label failure. Show all posts

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Committing to the Dream

There’s an old cliché that says “Dreams really do come true”. And if you talk to some of the people closest to me, they’ll tell you they hate it when I use clichés and generalities. I understand why they say such things, but in this case the cliché works to touch off a discussion about an issue I have been thinking about for quite some time. My thought is simple: What does it take to make a dream come true? Let me first start off by telling you that I don’t have the definitive answer to that question for you. The details of each dream dictate the course of action necessary for success and if I knew how to make every one come true, I’d be rich, famous, powerful, and living the easy life on a tropical island paradise.

Okay, so I don’t have minute specifics for you but I think I can come up with a few basics. Knowing what you really want, having a plan, a support structure, and effective guidance all sound like good elements to include in your master plan. Sprinkle in determination, persistence, resolve, and of course commitment… Oh that word Commitment. It’s the bane of many a person’s existence; the fear of it, talking about it, actually doing it. It’s enough to make any boyfriend go running for the hills (oops, I’ve fallen into a cliché again). Really though, committing to the dream is at the top of the list of things required to making a dream come true. But why?

I’ll let you in on a little secret of mine. A couple of years back, my brother and I started a very small business. We tried to sell t-shirts with whimsical, funny, and irreverent sayings and designs on them. We lacked practical business experience and knowledge as neither of us studied it in college, but we had a dream. We set out to educate ourselves on all the necessary business aspects needed to make our project a success. I even started this blog to get more attention for our website. To make a long story short, I tried to make the business work, but my effort proved insufficient. I gave it my all and still failed. Or did I give it my all? You see the most valuable lesson I learned about the whole endeavor was about commitment, although I learned the lesson far too late. At the time I didn’t recognize how uncommitted I was to the project. You know how some people live, breath, and eat totally focused on their goals? Well that wasn’t me and it negatively affected my performance in making things successful. So why couldn’t I commit? The short answer is I followed the wrong dream. You see I didn’t really know what I wanted out of my t-shirt company, so it blurred my perspective.

I guess it might be fair to say that if you can’t commit to a dream, really pour your talent, time, energy, and thought into it, that thing probably isn’t really your dream. It’s not a pleasant thing to fail, but in a way all of that might have been necessary. That experience taught me two valuable things. First, I realized I really wanted to commit to writing, something that would fulfill me professionally and creatively. Second, l learned truly committing to something meant that all my actions should reflect my efforts in achieving my goal. To put this into a different perspective, I refer back to the conversation where my brother curtly stated that I was not a writer. And what did I do in response to that statement? I wrote a novel. See that’s commitment. I know, and knew then, writing was part of my identity. I just needed a push (some might say violent shove) to solidify that perspective in my own mind. I’m not a businessman, but I am a writer.

Can you think of anything you want or wanted that ultimately proved out of reach? What kind of commitment did you devote to it? Was it really worth it? I’d say for a dream to be worthy of your total commitment it really must excite your passion, almost to the point of obsession. Don’t go crazy mind you, just let that commitment really fuel your drive for success. So, it comes down to a simple choice: are you willing to commit to your dream?

Thanks for reading.

Questions and comments are welcome. 

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Does Persistence Really Pay Off?

Douglas Clark
-Head writer, The Inspiration Engine

If at first you don’t succeed, try, try, try again.” As the old saying goes, never giving up is a mantra to follow if you want to be successful. But when you think about it, when does trying and being persistent stop being a virtue and start becoming a hindrance? There’s a fine line between the two and it’s not always easy to know which side you are on. Honestly, I don’t know the answer to this question, but I posed it because knowing the answer would help wouldn’t it?  There have been times when I was absolutely sure staying the course and continuing on was the best answer. I persisted and stayed focused, but I continued to fail. What does that mean? Did I not commit enough? Did I not try hard enough? There are other times when I gave up when things seemed hard. I felt devoting so much time and energy to that one thing was a recipe for failure, only to find out later that if I had hung on just a bit longer, things would have worked out. So where do we go with this, it seems as if I quit when I could have succeeded and persisted when I was destined to fail. Doesn’t sound like a plan for success does it?

There are some things that are easy to identify as goals persistence will help you achieve. Going to school, studying, and earning a degree is one example. Even for the learning impaired, persistent, dedicated attention to learning will always help. Keep with it and you’ll have a degree. I knew earning my master’s would be hard, and it took a while, especially writing my thesis, but I kept at it, and finished. Other areas have proven much more difficult to decipher. For me, work and love are great examples of not knowing exactly when and where to persist. I’m sure others feel the same way. Think about it, work and love, they fill up a huge majority of our lives. Working nine to five, being in a significant relationship, those things are major. No one wants to be stuck in a job they hate, or in a relationship with someone they don’t love. And since these things are so dominant in people’s lives, persistence in finding the right fit is crucial.

For work I’ve come up with a simple question you can ask yourself. Ask yourself this: “In five years if I’m in the exact same working environment, would I be happy?” If your answer is continually no, then you must work toward changing it, even if it seems impossible, because a life of stagnation is a slow torturous thing, and you won’t be happy. For love, ask yourself “In five years, if I’m still feeling the exact same way, would I be happy?” If your answer is continually no, then you must work toward improvement. Now it’s not just about happiness; some people seem happy being miserable. What I’m getting at here is acceptance. Can you accept a job and love that is full of misery, apathy, or emptiness?

Seriously, contemplate your current situation and extend it out five, even ten years from now. If you can imagine yourself just as unhappy, just as uninspired, just as sad, just as unfulfilled, then you know what you must do. You must persist in improving your life. It's the only way, even if it seems foolish, or pathetic. Self-improvement is never a waste of time, no matter how improbable the chance of success is. 

Give it a shot!

Thanks for reading. Comments and questions are always welcome. 

Thursday, November 29, 2012

21 Days to a Good Habit

There’s an old saying that I’ve heard and read countless times.  It says to form a habit you have to do something for 21 days in a row. Now usually it seems easier to form a bad habit than it does to form a good habit. Ever wonder how you fell into watching TV every night, or eating macaroni and cheese for dinner; because it’s easy. Bad habits are easy to form because they don’t take much effort, usually because they arose out of some need for a short cut. You found that short cut and BANG, it’s a bad habit. Okay, so that 21 days may be an arbitrary number, and it’s fair to say that not all people will need 21 days and some people may need more. But you should get the idea behind the premise. Doing something consistently for a specific period of time will help form patterns in your behavior that eventually becomes second nature.

So, why the hell am I bothering with all this you might ask? Easy. I want to form Good habits. Why does it seem that doing ‘good’ things for ourselves are so much harder? I’d say it’s because anything worth doing takes effort. Personally, I’m trying to add a good habit to my daily routine right now. What I’m trying to do is jog every morning, for just one mile. See, I go to the gym three days a week, but most of the rest of my time is spent not doing much physical activity at all. I’m not lazy, just not very active. And to be honest, I have a few pounds of vanity fat I want to work off. I know it seems ridiculous to try and sculpt my body to look like a Greek god, or fitness model, which is only part of the reason I’m working on this new habit. The main reason is health, both mental and physical. Being active helps the body be more healthy, running helps circulation, breathing capacity, just to name a few things. For the mind, activity helps creativity and imagination. Physical activity makes the mind work better and faster. I’ve noticed that the more active I am, the better and more consistent I am with writing and actually getting words on the page. Now that’s a good motivator, at least for me. You’ve probably heard another old saying, ‘healthy body, healthy mind’. Well I think it’s true. So I’m putting that idea to the test.

Every morning I get up at 6 am, put my jogging clothes on and head out. It usually takes me around 11 minutes to run around that mile track. Yeah, I’m a pretty slow runner. To be fair, it’s really 1.1 miles around several blocks, but that’s not really important. What is important is that for eight days so far I’ve gotten my butt out of bed that early just to do it. Now I know some of you will say ‘I just can’t do it’ and you’re right. You can’t, not with that attitude. You’re certain to fail. You have to change your mind set. Also, it’s easier to think of doing an activity just once. Don’t worry about tomorrow, or the next day, or the next week. Just worry about this one time, today. You can do something once can’t you? Even if you think you can’t, can you at least try? Remember, bad habits are formed because we’re looking for short cuts. Sleeping in or not bothering to try is a short cut. They are also bad habits. So look at trying something new as a one-day-at-a-time endeavor, 21 times in a row.

If you fail, at least you tried. If you didn’t try you’ve already failed. So give success a chance. You never know, 21 days from now, you might just be on your way to a life-long good habit that does a world of good. Go for it!

Thanks for reading. Comments and questions are always welcome. 

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Do You Ever Wonder Why You Fail?

Douglas Clark
-Head writer, The Inspiration Engine

Do you ever wonder why you fail? Of course you do. Failure sucks but it seems unavoidable. We should all strive for success but be prepared for failure, because unlike success, failure can teach us a lot. We can learn where we need help, where we need practice, motivation, instruction, experience, focus, the list is almost endless. But failure can be deceiving. It can teach you to give up and that’s a terrible outcome. When you fail, you need to persist; not at failing, but at attempting the next success. To put it another way, if you failed, you need to go back to square one, start over again, and give it another go.

Now I’m sure you’ve heard the old quote attributed to Einstein, the line goes something like “The definition of crazy is trying the same thing over and over again expecting a different result.” Okay, so I’m not advocating craziness, but I am advocating persistence. Trying again, with a different perspective, a different focus, a different motivation, a different plan, the key here is to try again. I’ll put it into context for you. Regular exercise and fitness is important to a person’s health, and it’s especially important to me. So, I work out about three days a week. The habit now is so ingrained into my psyche and daily life, I feel out of sorts when I don’t get to the gym. I’m not a muscle head to be sure, but I have made the commitment to go. But how did I do that, you might ask? 

Well, in the beginning, every day I went to the gym, I counted it as the first day, even if it was the third time that week. I told myself that going on that day was the most important day and that I couldn’t skip out on it. So I went. And on the days where work or personal requirements got in the way, I made sure I went the very next day, keeping in mind that that day was the most important day I needed to go. During times when I couldn’t go three days a week, I made sure I went twice. Every week that was short, I made sure the following week hit the mark. So you see, every time I failed, I tried again, recommitting myself to what was important, keeping my goal in sight but staying focused on Now.

It may seem ridiculous or just silly trying to trick your mind into being committed. However, when you are trying to readjust your life and mindset, you need to change the way you think about things. Remember if you change your perspective, you change the world. This is the same idea. Give it a shot.

This amazing picture is called The Galaxy, the see of stars.  Checkout more amazing artwork at Kagaya Space

Comments and questions are welcome. Thanks for reading. 

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Perseverance Pays Off

What keeps you going?  How do you go on when you know it may never get any better than this? 
Hope.  As corny as that sounds, it’s true.  It’s very rare that you find a person who’s life is absolutely nothing but despair, or total happiness.  Life has a way of fluctuating and changing without you even lifting a finger to help it.  But if you don’t even try to direct it on a course that you can live with, it will become oppressive.  That attempt at driving your life forward can be hard, but it can also be rewarding. 
Those clichés about ‘giving it your all’ or ‘never giving up’ and the like are clichés because people have used those thoughts and ideas to persist, strive, endure.  The mere act of living through hard times is an act of perseverance.  Now, I’m not talking about continuing on a path you know will lead to failure.  I’m not suggesting that you take on an endeavor you know to be fool-hearty and just shlog through hoping it will all work out in the end.  No, what I’m talking about is staying focused on your dreams, accepting your limitations, learning to deal with them and exploring new ways to achieve your goals. 
Remember, life can and does change if you change the way you look at it.  Striving for the ideal is motivational, comparing your success to the past is logical, and driving yourself to not give in to despair will help in your longevity.  Perseverance isn’t just about not giving up, it’s about doing better with what you have, even if what you have is less than yesterday.  Tomorrow can be better, you just have to give it your all.

You gotta believe you’re awesome to Be awesome.

Understanding Pandemics

By Doug Clark Head Writer -  The Inspiration Engine With all that is going on with Covid 19, I thought it would be a good idea to help ...