In a world that never sleeps, our lives revolve around efficiency, in an effort to maximize productivity (a term I use quite leniently). Thus, we view our world as a series of locations in which to be productive, and the space between these locations, a hindrance to our productivity. We use a variety of transportation to get from Point A to Point B in the minimal amount of time. For example, in a rudimentary hypothetical, I go to the fridge to get milk but realize there is none (which would never happen because I’m vegan -- though the unnecessary tangent presented in this parenthesis is necessary because I’m vegan). My instinct is to obtain milk in the fastest way possible: drive at the highest speed legal to the nearest store, grab milk, get in the 7 items or fewer aisle, and drive home. If I didn’t have to go to the store, I wouldn’t have.
What I’m trying to illustrate with the whole milk (haha) example is that we value only the beginning and end, Point A and Point B, effectively devaluing the “in between.” We pay no regard to the kids racing on their bicycles, or the rabbit diving into the bush. All we care about is getting to the store and buying the milk.
I believe our general mentality with regards to getting somewhere physically is similar to our mentality with regards to accomplishing our goals. People start projects with the ultimate intent to complete them, to attain success.
Failure, which I will define as not having achieved the desired, result, is viewed as an obstacle. I believe the adage goes: “You’re not finished when you’ve been defeated… It just means you haven’t succeeded yet.” I’ll concede that you can take a lack of desired, result, and spin it on its head into a lesson. Ultimately, the goal is to have attained maximum success.
The implications of this statement are infinite. In the most general example, we assume that a good education is integral in receiving a good job, which is integral in maintaining a steady income, and thus, in living a happy life. If we choose to reject any part of this chain, it is merely because we don’t truly believe it leads to happiness, which we equate with success. After all, why work a 9-5 if ultimately, you benefit nothing?
In another example, take a Bart ride. I have seen, many a times, someone board Bart on their way to work, headphones in, singular hand in pocket. They are invited to observe the world in all of its glory, yet choose instead to catch up on reading, or social media, or work. If staring at hills of houses does not benefit their work as a stockbroker in any way, why bother looking?
My argument isn’t that we don’t recognize the journey from Point A to Point B. Award-winners are constantly praising everyone along the way “that got [them] to where [they are] today.” But that’s the thing: the “in between” is a journey, that, by definition, renders a result. There is an expectation for a success standard. Failure is not a part of that package, and if it comes, a lesson is used to lessen the blow.
I can’t say that I’m “immune” to this issue; in fact, it was upon self-reflection that I decided to write about it. Just something on my mind, and I thought I’d share.