It's not a failure. It's a detour.

Saturday, May 07, 2011

I'm trying to become a fan of failure.

My friend the research chemist told me years ago that his job to was to fail in roughly 99% of the work he did. Each time he tried something that didn't work, he ruled out a possibility and got that much closer to something that might work. Every day he got up and went to his lab to try stuff that probably wasn't going to work. But there was a chance that a breakthrough might happen, and that's what kept him going back.

I want to love failure. I want to be able to routinely find the perspective that says "Cool! Spectacular failure can open up spectacular possibility."

The truth is that I can't always get there.

It's "orange barrel season" in Wisconsin. I'd never consider following a detour sign around a construction zone to be a failure. Even with the detour, I'll end up going where I have to go. If the journey really is going to last my whole life long, does it really matter if I end up going a little out of my way once in a while?

I am going to banish the word "failure" from my vocabulary when it comes to my health and fitness. I will not use it to describe choices I make that send me over my nutritional ranges. I will not use it to describe periods like the many weeks over the winter when I ate and drank more calories, too often "empty" ones, than I knew were good for me and moved less than was good for me.

I didn't fail. If this is truly a lifestyle change, then it's for the rest of my life. It's not temporary. It's not "do this for six weeks then do whatever you want to for the rest of your life." We all know how that turns out!

This week, I've been eating well and I have over 300 fitness minutes in. I made a new short-term goal, my first that involves a "what by when" target. I want to be back at my low weight by June 9. I think it's an achievable goal.

So, my journey into the wilderness last winter? Not a failure. Just a detour.

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Member Comments About This Blog Post
  • no profile photo CD6994021
    It is wonderful to watch and read your progress!
    3438 days ago
  • SILLYHP1953
    We see a lot of things we wouldn't normally see when we take a detour. Maybe even a road less taken.
    3445 days ago
  • no profile photo CD6063397
    Failure is a "Good Thing" learn from all of it---If your open to failure in your life...
    3454 days ago
    "Failure is an event not a person." --Zig Ziglar
    3454 days ago
    Wonderful blog! For me, it's been a balancing act between one belief that "99% compliance is not acceptable" and what you described -- detours will happen. I guess the trick in the long run is to end up at the intended destination, and not get lost or stop the trip because of the detour.

    In the end, each person has to find his/her own path to health and fitness. One size does not fit all. Your blog is yet another example that I find here on Spark of a winning attitude. You are doing great and I applaud you! And I with you on the detour struggle -- had a detour of my own at the start of the year and, like you, I'm trying to get back down to my lowest weight so I can keep going. We'll get it done, yes we will!

    3454 days ago
  • no profile photo CD5915821
    Wonderful outlook! I came across this quote once and every so often I forget it but you reminded with your blog today,"Failure is only the opportunity to begin again more intelligently. ~Henry Ford" This is one of my favorites! Thank you for the reminder!
    emoticon emoticon
    3454 days ago
    You're right! Maybe to detour means we are just finding a way around the construction zone.
    3454 days ago
    I do much better this time of the year, too! emoticon
    3454 days ago
    What a wonderful attitude ... an example to us all!

    3454 days ago
    That's a wise attitude and wonderful revelation. Thanks for sharing.
    3454 days ago
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