The last time I made a mistake was a few minutes ago, and the last time I failed at something was a few days ago. It is a cycle I, like others, will face time and time again because rocky roads and sharp unexpected curves are a part of life. However, it is not just what you learn from those challenges that knock you off your feet or sock you backwards, it is what you create from them; how you renew yourself stronger and more equipped for the next curve. There is really only one control that we have in life, self, and even that is questionable in the blur of the stones that come crashing into us in the worst of times. Ultimately, it is our personal determination to muster-up our pity and disposition, whether it is relevant or not, and leave our unfavorable circumstances on the side of the road as we pass through these swerves that try to keep us from our destination.
I have been lucky. Lucky enough to: 1.) believe I was lucky, 2.) let my luck take me somewhere, and 3.) find luck again and again. Depending on your beliefs, what you define as luck may be different from me. For me, luck has been the good favor and inexplicable blessings that have come my way- sometimes when I expected it to come simply by faith. Believing that you’re worthy of prosperity and goodness is crucial to how you get back on your feet every time you miss the mark on your journey to reach those important milestones in your life. So, find your belief about luck and treat it like a mantra.
My great grandmother would say, “I’m down on my luck”, when things just went every way but her way. As a child, I did not quiet understand that phrase and found it almost amusing because I was too immature to understand its connection to life. As I got older, I began to realize that chance is a double edged sword and that is what my great grandmother was expressing. Chance, can propel you forward or backward depending on what side of it you land. There are two facets of how chance plays out in success: 1.) what you achieve, and 2.) what you don’t. The two swerves.
It goes without saying that what you achieve in life is the easiest celebration to acknowledge. If you are a decent enough person most people will want to pat you on the back and toast to your achievements. They want to know how you did what ever it is and why, because achievements are inquiries to what people believe about happiness. In other words, he or she must be happy because they did this or that. Thus, the more we achieve in life the more we stockpile what people- especially strangers- believe about our happiness.
The notches of accomplishments a person achieves in theory mean that you have somehow dodged or leaped the curves- those ragged rocky roads did not flatten your life tires or dismantle your mind; you were lucky enough to beat the norm. No matter how flawed this thinking may be in relation to happiness, because real happiness is a resilient state of being and not all achievements bring people happiness, the power of what you achieve is intoxicating to others. The limelight of achievement is your opportunity to thrive; to shine beyond the moment. If you believe that a little bit of luck came with that achievement, you likely believe your success is evergreen. That is powerful to the way that you live. That is powerful to your mindset about what you believe of failure, the other side of success.
Defeat is not a reality worth living. During my 9th grade district track meet, my coach came to me and said I would be running the 300M hurdles because a teammate was injured. I had not practiced the hurdles in weeks, and even when I did I still was not particularly good at them. I had zero form. My approach: run hard and jump high. There I was at the starting line in the blocks, “Boom”. The gun goes off and I’m running hard and jumping high. The first 150M I feel like a pro. My adrenaline was off the charts as I rounded the curb in a tight race for 2nd place. I remember looking up in that moment because I was now in direct eyesight of the crowd in the bleachers. And, then it happened. About seven seconds of losing focus caused me to clip a hurdle and fall. It was apparent and staggering. There were gasp in the crowd and laughter on the sidelines. And, as I lay on the ground with my knees bruised and my ego tarnished, I found something that I needed much more: my pride. I got up, as every racer passed me, and with all I could muster I finished the race dead last. Clearly, I did not get a metal that day for the 300M hurdles. And, this was not some feel good story were the crowd stood-up and cheered me on and tears streamed down my coaches face as I finished- no- none of the made for the movies moments happened. I simply finished the race, got a passing pat on the back and a quick check by the trainer, and then I was told to stretch for my next race. The other side of success: what you discover in failure.
Nothing can defeat us, unless we let it. The swerves that we face in life are what make us stronger or weaker depending on what you believe about the swerves in life, the two sides of success. The easy part of success is the first celebration you have after an accomplishment. The most difficult parts of success are getting there, believing you are lucky enough to have it, and sustaining it. The latter requires a commitment to embracing defeat as a means of growth and not a fatality of your target goals. Swerve straight, keep your focus, even with the road is severely hazardous.
Facebook: LaToya Easter