See It As An Opportunity

Failure is an opportunity.
If you blame someone else,
there is no end to the blame.

Therefore, the Master
fulfills her obligations
and corrects her own mistakes.
She does what she needs to do
and demands nothing of others.

-Lao Tzu-
(Tao Te Ching, chapter 79, translation by Stephen Mitchell)

Yesterday, I was musing on the impossibility of remaining serene if you have never been serene. I think I may have been a bit melodramatic. I can’t really say that I have never known serenity. Still, I don’t want to confuse something that is fleeting with something that is eternal. Real serenity isn’t something that merely comes and goes. If you are serene, you can remain serene.

The truth is that we, as humans, do screw up. And, we screw up a lot. Whether we are going to remain serene is going to be put to the test over and over again. And the real test is going to be how we handle failure.

The challenge before us is to see failure as an opportunity. And, not as an opportunity to be pointing the finger of blame at others. Once you start going down that road, warns Lao Tzu, there is no end to the blame.

This right here is what separates the merely average from the truly great. Because blaming others is the easy way out. Or, so it seems to be. For that is all mere illusion. If we are to remain serene in the midst of failure, we need to keep it real. Do you have obligations to fulfill? Are there mistakes which you need to correct?

I have been in a downright funk the last few days. It has really affected me. Both emotionally and physically. If I am going to get out of this funk, I know exactly what I am going to have to do. I am going to have to turn and face the difficulty. I need to own up to the mistakes I have made. I still have obligations which I need to meet. And, there isn’t anyone else that I can expect is going to fix this for me. I need to do what I need to do and make no demands on anyone else.

I can do this.

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