A Handbook for Life Center Blog

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Is Failing Serious?

Ship1My wife and I recently returned from a seven day vacation on a cruise ship. For those of you who have never experienced what it is like to have no responsibilities for a week and have other people pamper you I highly recommend taking a cruise.

One of the activities I participated in taught me an unexpected lesson about life and taking ourselves too seriously.  The activity was a game show that they called The Quest.   There were about 700 people in the audience and we were broken up into ten sections.  The emcee asked for one male and one female volunteer from each section to be a team captain.

Since I was there to have a good time I immediately stood up and became the male captain for our section of about 70 people.  I had no idea what I was getting myself into.  All I knew when I arrived was that it was a game for adults only.  The concept of the game was a scavenger hunt.  The emcee explained the rules.  He would ask for an object and either the male or female team captain would have to get the object from their group and run it up to the front of the room.  Each team would receive points for producing the object.  The faster your team was the more points you received.  That seemed innocuous enough.

The requests started out very simple and got progressively more embarrassing.  I think you can imagine the roar of the crowd when the female captains had to run up to the front of the room in a pair of man’s jeans, or when the male captain had to run up with lipstick on him.  I’m not going to relate all of the scavenger items or antics that went on, but suffice it to say that the energy was high and the competition to be the winning team was fierce, despite whatever embarrassing objects we were asked to retrieve.

At the end, the top three winning teams were announced and our team was not mentioned.  At first I was disappointed.  We had worked so hard to win, to be successful.  Our entire team had tried the best we could but we failed, or did we?

As I thought about the game later that night I realized that enjoying ourselves during the event was the real prize.  I was able to step back and realize that the event itself was part of the reward.

Too often we tend to define our lives by successful results and not the experiences we encounter during the journey.  In reality I have discovered that my “failures” frequently became learning tools.  I have also realized that we can’t expect anything more of ourselves than to do the best we can.

If you tried your best then you should be proud of what you accomplished.  Don’t let yourself be overcome by thinking that you’ve failed.  Find a way to step back from the frantic pace of life and enjoy the journey.  Carl Lewis who won the gold medal for the long jump in the 1996 Olympic games said, “… you have both wins and losses along the way. I don’t take either one too seriously.”

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