How do you measure success? Most will see the attainment of preset goals through grit and determination as a definition of success. A possible antonym, or the opposite, of success is failure. If success is measured by gaining something desired, planned, or attempted, then it makes sense that if something, a desired plan, was not realized, then it must be a failure, right?
What if that failure shows you what you should be really concentrating on? Would that failure, and the epiphany that followed, actually be a victory? Could we also measure success in that way, if it leads us back to the path we veered from? I’m not trying to shift a paradigm, or play on that old saying about God opening windows. But I must confess, I’ve always been that silver lining kind of guy. Not simply a cup half full type, mind you. No, I’m more of the cautious optimist. The happy realist, I guess. I search for that silver lining in the black cloud that is preparing to rain down upon me.
For the last couple of years, I’ve tried in vain to become a freelance journalist. It’s a tough racket to get into, especially if you don’t have the proper education or network of friends. I have tried several “writing mills” that pays you a pittance to write short articles that they sell and you receive no credit, no by-line, thank you, come again. I’ve sold a couple of articles, but nothing really important. Recently, I had an article, one that would have bore my name had it been accepted and published, that was returned. It wasn’t rejected. The editor wanted me to resubmit after making a few corrections. Nothing out of the ordinary about that. That’s the tennis match that goes on between editors and writers. I just didn’t have the desire to rewrite it to the editor’s satisfaction.
That’s when it hit me! The proverbial “ton of bricks.” This is not for me, I thought. Some people are cut out for this type of tedious work. Some can thrive in this environment, while I can’t be bothered. Here’s the odd thing, though. If this were a piece of fiction, or poetry even, that I submitted, rewriting wouldn’t have been a problem. I would’ve welcomed it. Why? Because I care about my fiction and poetry and I want it to be flawless. I just can’t seem to care about non-fiction articles.
I guess the moral to my little story, if there is one, is that we should all find what we like to do and do it. Try other things, yes, but don’t feel bad if it doesn’t work out. Life is trial and error, we rarely get anything right the first time.