Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Lessons I Am Learning From Bobby Kennedy

“Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly.” – Robert Kennedy

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Children know this. Children live this. So why do we as adults forget this important lesson?

Daring to fail greatly starts in infancy: pushing our bodies to roll over, to see our world from a different vantage point that WE decide. Of course later on there is walking. Boom! Fall down. Get up and do it again, know that a fall could happen again. Babies, and even the adults around them do not see the falls as failures, they all seem to know that it is a part of the process of learning to walk. So why is it that we as adults are so afraid of the stumble in our lives?

Are we afraid of failure, or is our fear more deeply rooted in the words and reactions of others who may see us on that journey? Does the reaction of others, or our perception of the reaction of others really matter? In that vein does failure even matter, perhaps failure is a perception as well. Thomas Edison referred to all the attempts at creating a lightbulb '1000 way of how not to make a light bulb.' Of coure there are all those lab workers who crash cars into walls, looking for failure points, all in the name of learning how to make a safer automobile.

Perhaps the biggest misnomer of failure is its absoluteness. The Kennedy family has had more than its share of triumph and tragedy, but every member of the family picked themselves up, often multiple times in their lives, and worked to complete the tasks at hand. Failure doesn't have to be final, it can be a speedbump on our journey, a chance to slow down and really examine all that is around us, then continue on the journey, toward success.