Thursday, March 20, 2014

Failure is Inevitable

On Thursday, March 20th, I had the privilege of sitting in a lecture with Mr. James Carville and Mrs. Mary Matalin. Both worked as political consultants, but I don't want to address  politics. In that lecture, I learned some pretty key things. Things that I believe should be shared.

Failure is not something to fear. It happens to everyone. Just think about something you've always wanted to do. Now, think about all the reasons why you can't. Are they reasons or are they excuses?

Mr. Carville pointed out that it is better to be in the arena and taste defeat than to be an onlooker and never have stepped into the arena. Let's face it. What do we have to loose if we get up and try? If we fail, so what. We loose our pride. However, we gain humility. If we try, we can look at all of our critics and say "at least I had the guts to do something."

People in our generation are pretty lucky. We have social media. We just need to use it to our advantage. Everyone knows how rapidly things spread on the internet. A post that I wrote earlier this week received over 3,500 views after only being online for 72 hours. That's amazing. Before social media, think about how hard it would have been to reach that many people in just 3 days. Shocking right?

Our generation is far from lost. We claim we don't have some great war or some depression, but honestly, we don't need it. We've got a social revolution. We are changing ways of mass communication, learning that being open-minded and understanding not just what people believe, but why they believe it is the key to being able to not only have respect for each other but to work together despite our differences.

We are leaders. We are all smart. We have the ability to change things. We just have to be willing to work. We don't need to think that if we stand up and vocalize our opinion that it means we are basically going to get shot down for being wrong. We have the power to change that outlook on things. We can sit down and talk about issues without bringing up who paid the most for rent or what someone had for dinner.

So, if failure is something that we fear, so be it. However, it shouldn't prevent us from stepping into the arena.

Mr. Carville summed up the lecture with some wise words from Theodore Roosevelt. I'll conclude with the same ones.

"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat." 

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