3 persistent lessons from 6 years of failure

A guestpost by Akshata

For six long years, I struggled to find a comfortable medium between the kind of work I wanted to do and the kind that wouldn’t keep me broke. The frustrating part was that what I thought I wanted to do kept changing quite frequently andinsistently.

I began to think that in future, my identity would only serve as an example to demonstrate the meaning of the phrase Jill of all trades, master of none.

Eventually, the Web came to my rescue. Through it, I learned that my constant jumping from one activity/career was not some personality flaw as I, and those around me, seemed to believe. There are many others like me who thrive on learning and need a variety of pursuits to keep them happy and sane.

The sense of kinship that I developed by reading about the lives and experiences of random people from across the Web made a huge difference in my life. It allowed me to start accepting that my identity and life purpose didn’t need an external stamp of approval. It gradually taught me to view my place in the world as something deserved and not something borrowed or bestowed.

Thanks to those online benefactors who shared their story, I found the courage to keep moving forward. Now, finally, I’m doing something that is in tune with my nature and keeps me financially independent as well. After the years of struggle,I’m at peace with the direction my life has taken.

I’m also thankful for all the valuable lessons I have learned along the way, three of which I would like to share with you today.

Lesson #1: Know That You’re Not Alone

Sometimes, you come across an article, a movie, an interview, etc. and think to yourself that it might as well have been about your life or situation. You wouldn’t be wrong. Despite the diverse backgrounds we come from and the equally diverse lives we lead, underneath we’re similar in many ways.

Your dreams, goals, and the entire expression of your individuality may appear unlike that of others. But, there is definitely someone out there whose life is being shaped by similar themes as yours, right at this moment. Unfortunately, when you’re going through a rough patch, this doesn’t occur to you as a possibility, and you experience a sense of isolation from the rest of the world.

Issues like depression, self-pity, low self-esteem, fear, and resentment often crop up at such times. The best way to tackle these issues is by remembering that you’re not the first person in the world to experience them and you won’t be the last. Thousands of people continue to turn the worst of failure into success everyday, and these people are all around you.

The moment you decide to look outward and observe the actions of others, you will find many such individuals whose company you can draw solace from and whose lives you can gather hope and inspiration from.

They may not be from among your friends, family, or even acquaintances. They are often total strangers with whom you don’t have much in common, except some kind of shared joy or pain. And that’s enough. It’s enough to assure you that your life’s journey need not be an exercise in isolation.

Of course, you will need to go the distance alone, but that does not mean that you can’t carry a quilt of shared wisdom, experience, and love to keep you warm when you need it the most.

The next time you find a story that resonates with your own, know that you’re not alone. Know that help is always at hand and that the answers will come to you if you choose to step forward bravely.

Lesson #2: Stop With The Comparisons

As a human being, you live in a societal framework that expects you to accomplish certain things or cross certain milestones at specific stages of your life. A few of those expectations help you discipline yourself and give your best. But, many others are unrealistic ones that often force you along paths not meant for you or leave you crippled with guilt and other negative emotions because you chose not to fulfill those expectations.

Either way, you’re viewing life through borrowed lenses, which is why it seems less than great.

You’re not here to walk another’s path (and vice versa, of course). You’re here to make the best of your own, even if that path does not follow the template and the guidelines that the world has set for you.

Stop with the comparisons, unless that comparison is with an older version of yourself.

Lesson #3: Observe The Patterns In Your Life

If you look closely, you’ll be able to tell that the situations in your life and your reactions to them are bound by common threads. These hidden patterns often hold many of the answers that you don’t know you’re looking for. That’s why analyzing these patterns can often turn into “Eureka” moments.

Like everybody else, I was conditioned to believe certain things about money. This mindset stayed below the levels of my consciousness and often dictated my attitudes toward money and the idea of wealth and prosperity.

When no amount of hard work, saving, and frugality helped me become financially capable of taking complete care of myself, I knew that my problem went much deeper than I had imagined.

Over the period of a few months, I kept a close watch on how I thought, spoke, and dealt with anything that involved money. It became glaringly obvious that beyond what was needed for the necessities, I thought of money as dirty, and wanting to make more of it as human greed.

Perhaps this cynical attitude was what ensured that I barely made enough to stay afloat. Understanding this pattern of thought and putting in conscious effort to undo it has helped me get my finances in better shape than they have ever been. I have not yet reached a point where I can live fairly comfortably and stop worrying about my finances entirely, but I’m now confident of getting there soon.

What I have to tell you is this: Pay close attention to what you’re forced to face time and again, instead of simply chalking it up as a misfortune or as a bad phase of life. There’s definitely a lesson in there somewhere.

Wrapping Up With A Note On Failure

As a member of our society, you’re taught to avoid failure at all costs and brush it under the carpet when you do encounter it. That approach does not help your life one bit.

Holding up failure to the light of inner wisdom and seeing it for what it is–a lesson you needed to learn–can help you come to terms with it and use it as the cornerstone for future successes.

About the Author

Akshata is a writer and doodler with a strong interest in slow, focused, simple living. She is a scanner by nature and is always attempting to learn something new. In addition to writing about her slow living experiments, which she chooses to call her personal Undustrial Revolution, she writes for a popular technology blog.

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