51 Dreams Left on My List of 101 Dreams Come True I recently took my novice moves in the field test in figure skating. I had worked for seven months and in the final six weeks I pushed my body to the point of exhaustion. Though I skated well during the test, and was proud of my accomplishment, the judges gave me two tenths of a point lower than what I needed to pass. I had failed and in front of everyone.
The wind was taken from my sail. I was crushed and upset especially since I felt I deserved to pass. It had been my one chance to pass this set of moves before the entire system changed and now I had to learn all new criteria. All my hard work was for nothing. Plus, I had to face everyone and tell them I failed.
A funny thing happened when I told people I didn't pass. People congratulated me on my hard work and how much I had accomplished. They cheered me on and lifted me up. There was no pity for me and I wasn't embarrassed. It turned out, that failing wasn't so bad.
I've spent my life worried that if I failed in front of people that I would somehow be lessened. I put a tremendous amount of stress on each thing I've pursued for fear of failure. In some ways this pushes me to achieve a higher level, but it also causes anxiety and sometimes blocks me completely.
We place so much emphasis in our culture on final outcomes that many times we forget to pay attention to the journey along the way and all that we've gained. We fear failure, so many times we don't even start down the path we desire. But the truth is that the only way we can fail in life is if we never begin. We aren't always going to get what we believe we deserve. Hard work won't always be rewarded or even acknowledged, but if we look outside ourselves for that praise and reward we will always be doing things for the wrong reason.
I've also realized that when I put emphasis on a final outcome as the prize, I lose steam when it doesn't come the way I desired. I whine that I worked hard and I don't have anything left to keep going. This is when I take a break, dust myself off, and realize that life isn't about the end result - since the only end result to life is death - it really is about getting everything I can from the journey.