Dare To Fail, It's The First Step Toward Success

Dare To Fail, It's The First Step Toward Success

Success becomes habit when you realize your worth.
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Are there ever those days where one thing goes wrong and suddenly the rug is pulled from under you? You miss out on opportunities, fight with people, get those overwhelming “I can’t do this anymore” or “I need a jumpstart into something new.” Those are the days which don’t make out failures but rather our triumphs. It is the failure which makes the success so much more worth the effort.

A little girl was crying because she couldn’t find her mom at a library event I was photographing. She was running frantically running trying to find her, avoiding contact with anyone who wasn’t here, and I could genuinely see the fear in her eyes because to her that was such a terrifying experience. I went up to her and calmed her down, letting her take a couple pictures on my camera, and suddenly was back to her original happy state.

A few minutes later, her mom walked back into the room and she didn’t move. I asked her if she wanted to go see her and she said in just a minute, I want to be sad a little longer. Yes. She said I want to be sad a little longer. I asked her why on earth she wanted to be sad. She told me something which I think may be the mindset that so many kids of this generation have. She said, “If I am not sad for long enough, I won’t know how to be happy anymore”

A sweet little 4-year-old girl answered an epidemic which has influenced so many children of the generation.

My parents always raised me to be optimistic, and at most times that is what I try to be, but in reality, I am a realist.

I look at every situation and think about how it will influence my future. It is a blessing and a curse, but I am notorious for finding reasons to complain, especially when I don’t get things my way. It is so easy to complain, to be mad, to be sad, to just find reasons to see the negative and feast on it. People would rather go to dinner parties and gossip about the failures of themselves and others than sit and commemorate their attempt.

I even noticed growing up in class that the most successful students were almost always the ones who kept to themselves, yes, they had friends, but you would never see them bragging or infatuating themselves with compliments.

It is actually sad that this society frowns upon accomplishments. If you get arrested for drugs, you’re on the front page of the paper and everyone will know in a matter of hours, you will get the pity, “I feel so sorry smiles in the halls” and you will be instantly labeled for that one action. If you receive national awards, work hard as a student, try your hardest to stay out of trouble, there is going to be nothing said about you. How does it make sense to rip someone of their status and focus on their flaws rather than their achievements?

It is so heartbreaking watching someone fall apart because of one mistake which will carry them for the rest of their lives. The reality is that will be their peak, and they will either rise from the ashes and succeed beyond their own belief, or they will crumble and fall to the voices in their head telling them they are finished. Which will you do?

Teen depression has become a fashion statement where every other person claims to be traumatized. Yes, it is understandable in many situations, and depression is a REAL-world issue, but some claim to have it to publicize it and receive pity rather than trying to overcome it. I wouldn’t be shocked by the number of students who play their cards right and get out of tests claiming they are too overwhelmed.

As much as it sucks to be an adult, it is inevitable, so why would you waste some of the best parts of your life trying to be upset. Yes, I say trying because people crave the negative and upsetting points of life to build up this façade that they know how terrible the world is in this day and age, so the only solution is to drag everyone around you down.

I know, it sounds demining and ridiculous, but it is a coping method because so many adults don’t know how to deal with stress so how do we expect children and young adults to? A crisis for a teenager used to embody a fight with a boyfriend/girlfriend, wanting to lose weight, wanting to bulk up in the gym, even a chipped nail could ruin your day. Today the wages turn to taking your own life? Overdosing on prescription medication just to feel happy? Holding a gun in a school and trembling at the touch of the trigger?

How did we go from a world of innovation and endless opportunities to a civilization of fear and discomfort where our biggest enemy is ourselves? It is a sick joke in my mind, but it is a reality to those who think there is no way out. No one to confide in, no one who understands, no one who can help. You think if I can push one button or take one more pill, the pain will evaporate, and you will be free from this monster you feel resting on your shoulders.

It is by no means easy, but it is absolutely possible. There is someone who loves you, someone who thinks of you, and someone who relates to you. There are endless possibilities to those who seek to achieve it. I have seen people my age go from their peak of perfection and crumble to addiction and self-abuse. There is no word but heart-break which I can think to explain it and to think it is because of the most minuscule reason which ends up being their entire world at that point of time.

No matter how tough we want to appear to the naked eye, we are all skin and bones, we all have emotions, we all breathe the same air, we all walk on the same Earth, and we all get sad from time to time. That is no reason to give up on what can be, just to get your head out of what is currently going on. The mind is the trickiest part of our mechanics, and when you’d correctly, it is the most powerful tool we have. So instead of dwelling on every negative moment in life, notice that everyone has a path and there is no reason to demise yourself for not being perfect, because failure is the first step toward success.

Cover Image Credit: Tish Cama

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Working With People Who Are Dying Teaches You So Much About How To Live

Spending time with hospice patients taught me about the art of dying.

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Death is a difficult subject.

It is addressed differently across cultures, lifestyles, and religions, and it can be difficult to find the right words to say when in the company of someone who is dying. I have spent a lot of time working with hospice patients, and I bore witness to the varying degrees of memory loss and cognitive decline that accompany aging and disease.

The patients I worked with had diverse stories and interests, and although we might have had some trouble understanding each other, we found ways to communicate that transcended any typical conversation.

I especially learned a lot from patients severely affected by dementia.

They spoke in riddles, but their emotions were clearly communicated through their facial expressions and general demeanor, which told a story all on their own.

We would connect through smiles and short phrases, yes or no questions, but more often than not, their minds were in another place. Some patients would repeat the details of the same event, over and over, with varying levels of detail each time.

Others would revert to a child-like state, wondering about their parents, about school, and about family and friends they hadn't seen in a long time.

I often wondered why their minds chose to wander to a certain event or time period and leave them stranded there before the end of their life. Was an emotionally salient event reinforcing itself in their memories?

Was their subconscious trying to reconnect with people from their past? All I could do was agree and follow their lead because the last thing I wanted to do was break their pleasant memory.

I felt honored to be able to spend time with them, but I couldn't shake the feeling that I was intruding on their final moments, moments that might be better spent with family and loved ones. I didn't know them in their life, so I wondered how they benefited from my presence in their death.

However, after learning that several of the patients I visited didn't have anyone to come to see them, I began to cherish every moment spent, whether it was in laughter or in tears. Several of the patients never remembered me. Each week, I was a new person, and each week they had a different variation of the same story that they needed to tell me.

In a way, it might have made it easier to start fresh every week rather than to grow attached to a person they would soon leave.

Usually, the stories were light-hearted.

They were reliving a memory or experiencing life again as if it were the first time, but as the end draws nearer, a drastic shift in mood and demeanor is evident.

A patient who was once friendly and jolly can quickly become quiet, reflective, and despondent. I've seen patients break down and cry, not because of their current situation, but because they were mourning old ones. These times taught me a lot about how to be just what that person needs towards the end of their life.

I didn't need to understand why they were upset or what they wanted to say.

The somber tone and tired eyes let me know that what they had to say was important and worth hearing. What mattered most is that someone who cared was there to hear it.

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A Few Birthday Thoughts

Goodbye teenage years, hello twenties!

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So, it is looking like I am about to leave my teenage years behind. I think that I want to reflect back on this time in my life and think about what I want to keep with me in my twenties and maybe some things I can let go. My teenage years have been full of love from my family and friends; hard work to make good grades in school and creating art. I developed several great friendships that I have held on to across the miles even though I went to college 14 hours away from our previous home. I am so thankful for the friendships I have made in college as well.

It seems like friends you make in your childhood and younger years can really stand the test of time. Maybe it is because when you became friends you were truly who you were. Everyone was genuine and didn't put up walls to protect themselves. You got to know someone on a deeper more personal level more quickly than if you had met later in life. I also think we laughed even more as children and that always creates good memories to look back on. So I think in my twenties I will try to hang on to the "childish" way of making friends. I will try to show my true self and will accept them for who they are, and we will laugh....a lot.

I think a good thing to let go of is always trying to make dead-end relationships work. When we were children on the playground and we tried to play a game together or jump rope and it just wasn't working, we would run off and find someone else. It was easy. It was just natural. Now sometimes I find myself trying to stay in a relationship by being overly nice, giving gifts, trying to find what pushes the persons "good" buttons. I might spend so much time trying to figure this person out that I leave out more solid relationships that are worth my time. So in my twenties, I will try to be more realistic about who to spend my time on. Some people are just never going to stand the test of time. I can continue to be cordial but won't let them rule my time and thought life.

As children, we loved our parents and siblings and would show love to them in a myriad of ways. Maybe it was hugs, pictures on the fridge, good night kisses, playing games, or just quality time spent together as a family. Starting my twenties, I am mature enough to realize the value of these people in my life. Thankfully, I have always known this. I was never the type that was embarrassed if someone saw me walking with my Mom or Dad or being dropped off in the Mom Van somewhere. I always knew these people loved me more than anyone else I was about to meet. But in my twenties, I plan to keep up with my family even when I am eight hours away from them. We are never too old to need the love of family.

As weird as it is to say goodbye to my teenage years, it's honestly helped me to soak in the precious moments of everyday life and treasure them even more. Every year when birthdays come around, it always serves as a reminder how quickly the days, months, and years fly by. I think that has been one difficult part of this birthday season. It's hard to say goodbye to the past, without a clear map of the future. But, I must remind myself that this is why growing up is a beautiful thing- as we live life and experience new things, we are better prepared for what the future may hold. Everything that I have experienced in my 20 years has served an important purpose- to make me into the person I am supposed to become. Yes, life is always changing and so am I... and change can be hard. Very hard. But one thing to remember is God is always constant. He will never change. No matter what number is on your birthday cake, He is always there...the same God yesterday, today and tomorrow. He is the Rock that we will always be able to cling to. Isn't that a wonderful thought? Even if we don't know what's in His plans for us in the coming year, it's important to make Him a part of our plans. Rather than worry about change, let's embrace it all- the good and the bad- and look to the Lord to see how He will guide and shape us.

Teenage years- the time has come. I must say goodbye to you now. But, you will never be forgotten. I will hold your memories in my heart forever. Twenties- I am excited for all that awaits me.

"Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go." - Joshua 1:9

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