There’s a big difference between the maze you see drawn on paper and a physical maze one, typically made out of hedges. Sometimes, when we’re not sure which way to go in life, it helps to imagine our life as a physical maze. This depiction reveals three important realities about life that can help put our uncertainties about which way to go into perspective.
This quote, by Confucius, reminds us that our actual mistakes in life are ones that occur and are never corrected. Not correcting a mistake is what makes it be called a mistake. However, when we correct our mistakes, they are no longer called a mistake. They can then be called a lesson.
Inspiration is often the spark that leads to meaningful action; and one great but under appreciated source of inspiration is actually failure. However, when we fail, we tend to want to forget it ever happened as quickly as possible. But as this quote by Robert Kiyosaki suggests, we shouldn’t bury our failures, which is the natural thing to do. Instead, we can hold on to failures just long enough to learn something from them or at least long enough to try again with the new perspective that the failure gave us.
This quote comes from a novel by Astrid Scholte. It makes us imagine ourselves accomplishing a particular goal with our first step or attempt being falling flat on our face. It reminds us that sometimes there’ll be failures on our road to whatever destination we’re trying to reach. And sometimes that failure happens at the very beginning. The key is to not take that initial failure as final. It may just be the perfect beginning.
This quote, by Benjamin E. Mays, reminds us that having goals puts us at risk of disappointment, because we may not reach all of them. So we might be tempted to not have any goals at all. If there’s nothing we’re trying to reach, then we’d never have to feel like we’ve fallen short of anything, right? But while we may avoid feeling disappointed, we miss out on the sense of purpose and direction that goals bring. We also miss out on opportunities to learn from where we fell short of our goals.
We tend to be the harshest critic of our own shortcomings and failures. While a little introspection is good, constantly beating ourselves up over past shortcomings and failures means constantly being stuck in the past. As a result, we’re not able to focus on the present. We become so stuck in the past that we may miss the great opportunity life gives us to learn from our mistakes and begin again. Interestingly, at the literal center of this anonymous quote is forgiving yourself. Meanwhile, this is also central to the quote’s message. It’s only when we aren’t stuck in the past (having forgiven ourselves) that we can be “present” enough…
Failure provides some of the best learnings and insights. But sometimes we don’t try again at that thing we failed at. This quote, by Henry Ford, reminds us to take advantage of the opportunity to try again. It reminds us to apply the knowledge that failure brings. Sadly, so many endeavors go unaccomplished when failure is perceived as an end to their pursuit instead of as a new and better beginning.
This quote, by poet and writer John Sinclair, reminds us that failure may hurt for a little bit. However, whatever pain or disappointment we feel is not meant to last forever, like a tattoo. Rather, like a bruise, the pain and disappointment goes away. Also like a bruise that heals, with cells that regenerate, failure has a way of healing us. When we handle failure the right way, it should regenerate us into a new and better version of ourselves.
Sometimes the would have, could have, and should haves of our past can seem like a constantly growing and endless list. And each regret or unfortunate event can make us feel bitter. But what if we take every past regret and bad incident and use them to fuel our drive to make things better? This anonymous quote is a great reminder to not get bogged down by our negative past but to use the wisdom we’ve gathered from it to inspire positive change.
While the definition of failure is subjective, it is true that some things don’t work out. And there are a lot of reasons why they don’t work out. This quote, by the iconic journalist Herbert Bayard Swope, describes one of them as trying to please everyone. Sometimes, it’s just impossible to make everyone happy. We can absolutely try our best to do so. But there’s a certain point where trying to please everyone can paralyze you and nothing gets accomplished. It can also force you to reduce things to a level that is the most acceptable by everyone. However, as a result, you may compromise on what you envisioned, and…