Why I’m Happy To Be A Failure

I’m a failure according to my own definition.

The current me doesn’t think I’m a failure — I’m pretty happy about where I’m at in life and feel I’m doing what I love at the moment. It’s one of the versions of me from the past that thinks I’m a failure.

There was a time (I shudder to recall) when I thought being an elected politician was the way to live and spread freedom. I went to work in the legislature to see how to become a lawmaker. During that time I met a lot of people who didn’t know me before and haven’t kept up since. They knew the Isaac who defined success as being an elected official. Friends and relatives saw me working in politics and could foresee what a successful end in that realm looked like in their minds. For these people, my life won’t be a success until I achieve what I was then pursuing.

Along the way I learned more about myself. My goals didn’t change, just the way I visualized achieving them. I was pursuing a certain ideal and a bundle of sensations. I was pursuing freedom. I was incapable of imagining anything but a crude vision of political freedom, and my worldview was so simple I thought politicians created it. Therefore I wanted to be one. Freedom is still what I want, but with more experience and knowledge I have come to believe being involved in politics would be the worst possible way to achieve it. My definition of success morphed.

This happens all the time with humans. A child may say he wants to be a firefighter only because in his world, firefighter is one of the four or five options he can imagine. It’s the one that makes him feel the most excited and good about helping people.

As they grow, children learn about a huge range of activities in the world and realize that, to achieve the feeling they desire, firefighting is an inferior method to being a paramedic, a teacher, an entrepreneur, or an X-Games athlete. It’s not that we sell out on our dreams, it’s just that our dreams were crude representations of what we thought we wanted. When we learn more, we make different decisions. C.S. Lewis talks about the, “[I]gnorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea.”

Once we learn what’s possible, we laugh at what we previously thought of as the ultimate achievement. This growth is all well and good until we confront people from our past who have us locked in to our previous dreams.

Sometimes people ask me when I’m going to be president, and no matter what answer I give, it seems to them like a cop-out or excuse for my own failure. They refuse to believe me when I say I wouldn’t wish political office on my worst enemy, let alone myself. They think I’m being modest.

I have a friend who went to Hollywood wanting to be an actor and now realizes his creative energies are far broader. People back home always want to know when they’ll see him on the big screen. We sometimes joke that someday, when he has millions and is producing, directing, writing and doing whatever he wants in life, his friends back home will say, “Haven’t seen you on TV…you just haven’t caught that break yet, huh?”

It can be a little weird to describe how and why your dreams and definitions of success change over time. A lot of people don’t actually want to know. They just want to know if you’re Governor yet, or an Oscar winning actor. That’s alright. Don’t fret over it and don’t spend too much energy trying to convince them you’re really not a failure. If they insist on defining success they way you did before you knew better, just let them think you’re a failure and laugh at the absurdity.

If I’m a failure for not being the silly thing I once wanted to be, it’s good to be a failure.


WRITTEN BY ISAAC MOREHOUSE

View profile at Medium.com

Isaac Morehouse is an entrepreneur, thinker, and communicator dedicated to the relentless pursuit of freedom. He is the founder and CEO of Praxis(www.discoverpraxis.com), a year-long program combining real world business experience with intensive one-on-one personal development coaching.

 

PUBLISHED WITH PERMISSION

Tags:

screen-shot-2016-12-02-at-18-45-56
Why all world maps are wrong
164199_550562698299697_29017159_n
Husband Plants a Field of Scented Flowers for His Blind Wife to Smile Every Day
Screen Shot 2016-02-20 at 10.52.33
THIS BABY SHOWER WITH MELISANDRE FROM ‘GAME OF THRONES’ IS COMIC GOLD
stuck5
WHEN ANIMALS ARE STUCK BUT PLAY IT COOL…
introducing-microsoft-surface-studio-all-in-one-touchscreen-pc
Introducing Microsoft Surface Studio
laferrari-aperta-5-800x333
Sebastian Vettel – LaFerrari Aperta
roadtrips-never-felt-this-good-in-rivays-new-vintage-bmw-short-film-featured-tomboy-tarts-2
There Is Something About Driving
elviraandeunice-lfw2of13
The Truth By Carelle Style
1-f3jxsk4xn4o7nr2vidzqqw
How Berry Gordy Revolutionized Rhythm & Blues
Screen Shot 2016-08-05 at 18.43.20
Even Bombs Could Not Stop This Wedding
Pommituksen uhria kannetaan ambulanssiin
A Finnish Salute
tumblr_ob1qbm4TSY1spwf52o1_1280
Dog Of War
2BF74FB500000578-3222359-image-a-82_1441369111959
The Rebirth Of Cool Photography- GREG WILLIAMS
509431857_1280x720
GROUP B (TRAILER)
maxresdefault
This Boxing Film Looks Very Good Indeed
http-%2F%2F9network-vod-progressive.akamaized.net%2Fmedia2%2F664969388001%2F2016%2F06%2F664969388001_4999118971001_8117464-20160628-091740-VIDEO-STILL
Seal joins busker for impromptu duet – and its AMAZING!
screen-shot-2016-12-02-at-18-49-03
The Witch as a Wes Anderson Movie
screen-shot-2016-12-03-at-09-29-17
Jolene
screen-shot-2016-12-02-at-18-39-41
The Rolling Stones – Ride ‘Em On Down
screen-shot-2016-11-26-at-13-57-25
KONG: Skull Island

Follow us on Facebook!