Thoughts on negativity.
| Philosopher's Rock
Have you ever had something that someone either said or wrote just stick in your mind, sometimes for years, because you couldn't quite grasp your mind around it's meaning? I guess that there is something to be said for things left undone. Anyway, this is about one of those things. One of those things that just make you go...hmmmmm!
In a time, when the prevailing wisdom is to establish moderate and incrementally achievable goals, both for oneself personally, as well as, professionally, in order to induce a sense of achievement and accomplishment, I could not help but recall an old quote that I had read that was seemingly out of step with the established, conventional thinking of the today. The quote was from Casssius Longinus...." In great attempts it is glorious even to fail".
What, I asked could be learned or gained from failure? It seemed to be at odds with the conventional wisdom of the today. Old maxims like Lombardy's " winning isn't everything, it's the only thing!" seemed to be the accepted axioms of the day. In those calm and serene moments, between the striving for daily success and the drudgery for survival, when one could allow for the luxury of precious time for introspection, I would find myself revisiting this quandary. If, at times, only to touch upon it for a moment. What analogy could I draw from to help me understand what Longinus meant? " In great attempts it is glorious even to fail!".
To set a goal so high, as to be unattainable, would set one's self up for certain failure. I, like most, want to win or succeed at everything that I do. I, like most, want to feel good about myself and have a sense of self-accomplishment. I wouldn't want to feel like a hypocrite for not living up to my set goals, no way! So, how is failing, even in a great attempt, a good thing? I think that now I understand. I have found my analogy at last.
The other day I was reading about a querulous man, who felt that he needed to change his ways if he was to have a life worth the living. His constant negativity was affecting every aspect of his life, both personally and professionally. His wife had left him and his coworkers hated him. His life was a miserable downward spiral of depression and negativity.
The only thing that he had left in his miserable downtrodden life was his incredible will. He decided to put his will power to the test and set a goal for himself and relentlessly pursue it. For him, an almost unattainable goal, but ingenious in it's simplicity. From this day forward, he proclaimed, and forever, as long as he shall live, he would say nothing, but good things to and about everyone and everything that he would encounter in his life, everyday, for the rest of his days here on Earth. For a man, whom had spent forty-five years of his life with such a negative nature, this would prove to be a tremendous challenge, and was!
Each day he would set out to achieve his goal and each day he would fail! The following day he would try again, this time even harder and more earnest and yet he would once again fail. Day after day, week after week he would fail to reach his lofty goal. However, with each passing day he would do a little better, until eventually his negative to positive ratio had reversed itself. He would still succumb to the occasional deleterious comment and although he never truly was able to fully change his nature, he was able to acquire a much-improved positive outlook in life.
He was able to attain incremental gains toward achieving his goal, although never actually reaching it fully. Some may scoff at him and call him a hypocrite for setting such a high standard and never reaching it, but I say that he accomplished the same rate of achievement as those who would set lesser, incremental goals for themselves, thereby achieving them easily, thus giving themselves a false sense of
euphoric achievement. Mankind would not have advanced without those intrepid souls that dared to attempt great things, even at the risk or possibility of failure. People often scoff at what they don't understand or fear to understand. "In great attempts, it is glorious even to fail" I've got it!