As we all blindly sprint toward some imaginary, concocted finish line, we hold onto the hope that a solid grip on the brass ring will somehow bring a permanent sense of fulfillment and satisfaction.
But even the most clever moves on the chessboard are often met with an equal or greater riposte.
A difficult lesson to learn is that a lack of adversity is not necessarily a good thing. Getting knocked to the ground can hurt the body (along with the ego), but the strength it takes to stand and fight another day is worth the bruised knees and battered self-esteem.
We are not perfect. But we are perfectionists stuck in the shoes of fallible creatures. Making peace with that incongruity is the first step toward shedding the skin of self-criticism and personal disparagement.
This is exponentially easier said than done. Beating ourselves up over every misstep and mistake we make is a national pastime. Our society reserves praise only for the best of the best, and shuns second place losers like a colony of lepers holding silver medals, plastering on fake smiles of faux enthusiasm for disinterested press lines.
But without defeat, there is no success. If we don’t give ourselves permission to fail, we never learn. If we never learn, we never grow.
Reframe your personal narrative. Relish the wins, but embrace the losses with a modified focus on what can be gained from coming up short or missing the mark.
Failure might finally have a different feel when it’s wearing fuzzy slippers instead of spiked heels.