Back in college, as part of an ice breaker group routine at a retreat, some friends and I were faced with the difficult task of physically carrying each member of a group to a certain location without anyone’s body touching any of the objects that were deemed out of bounds. My friends and I figured out the perfect way to adjust our physicality and maneuver our bodies so we could outwit the rule makers and successfully accomplish the task. Our performance was stunningly excellent. Everyone was impressed with the way we navigated around inconveniently placed obstacles without letting them touch us. Then, at the very end, we failed.
Because our time hadn’t run out, we still had a chance to start from the beginning and attempt completion. So we all huddled up and went into strategy planning mode. Everyone threw out a few suggestions for what we could do differently. After about 5 minutes of this, one of the group members said “hey, I think our approach was fine. It just didn’t work that time. Maybe we should just get out there and try the exact strategy again.” We did and we succeeded.
Here’s the lesson I learned:
Sometimes there’s no lesson to be learned. Failing to get what you want doesn’t always mean there’s something you need to change or figure out. Life is a process and everything isn’t meant to work out the first time around. Analyzing a situation or working extra hard isn’t going to change that simple fact.
No amount of therapy, pills, self-help courses, friends, advice, prayers, motivational speeches, sermons, effort, or positive thoughts will save you from the risks, mistakes, failures, and set-backs that are built into the life experience.
There was no lesson to be learned from our failure. We had a great plan. It just didn’t work the first time around. That’s simply how life is.
Maybe you’re doing just fine. Perhaps the only thing you need to do is not stop.