Failure is a peculiar state of being. No one ever learns to succeed, they only learn not to fail—and this is done in a rather poor manner I might add. Sadly, this state is only achieved with practice through rigorous repetition. Mathematically, if one succeeds in one out of every ten attempts then they are subject to only a 10 percent success rate. Following this silly computational example that is exceedingly arbitrary in nature, begs the question as to why one would be so arduous in their efforts. Given this minute rate of success, it is a wonder any attempts at anything is ever attempted.

Today, the same as most, I found my mind wandering, not by way of absenteeism, but in a manner that compelled deep thought. I contemplated the meaning of life, love, politics, religion and the rest of the usual suspects. They tend to blur together after a while but I do generate some resolve—minus any inner peace. One has to steer clear of the camphor flame, the Eucharist, the dreidel and prayer mat to seek clarity in thought—those tend to murky the water. I “think” I feel but there are no absolute feeling whatsoever, all are relative. The only absolute “feelings” are those in response to one’s physical environment. And I speculate that those are questionable at best. The only reward for success is the ability to endure excessive failure.

There is a simple process to lend credence to this theory, one needs to only look to love. All of the pain and loss attributed to failed relationship, whether they be romantic or by-the-way, dissipates—or possibly evolves—when one experiences this emotion. Not to be taken lightly, love, though it “feels” strong, tends to be fragile by nature, so fragile that it can dissolve in an instant or slowly be crushed by the weight of time. Love can be extinguished by the simplest of means. Ponder for a moment of gravity, one of the four weak forces of nature. To experience its power one need only to “hop”. Upon bodily advancement into the air, gravity seems to be momentarily subdued, but in a mere instant we are reminded of its power as it draws us back to earth.

Arguably, this thesis is incorrect or perhaps inadequate in definition. If only by irreducible complexity a correlation between failure, love, and gravity can be drawn, then failure doesn’t exist. Failure is can be defined as merely an “unsuccessful success”.

Envision a child tossing a ball into the air and swinging a bat in what seems like an attempt to hit the ball. After three “unsuccessful” attempts he thinks to himself, “I didn’t know I could pitch that well”, thus striking himself out. His perception of the event allows him to conclude that he was successful in his endeavor. By denying his failure success was the only viable result. He did not “learn not to fail”, he only modified his perception of failure. Given that one is allowed to “misperceive” the past forces them onward toward the path of “unsuccessful success” and on rare occasion “success”.


Jason Abshire