Remember sweetness

It’s so hard to forget pain, but it’s even harder to remember sweetness. We have no scar to show for happiness. We learn so little from peace.

~ Chuck Palahniuk


I continue to practice shifting my perspective. Instead of “pain” and “pleasure” though, I struggle with “failure” and “success.” The danger of setting clear goals, is that it’s equally clear whether or not they are achieved. Not reaching a goal is clear, and real. And to pretend otherwise is foolish.

The trap is that I forget that each goal contains a degree of arbitrariness. Success (reach the goal) and failure (not reach the goal.) Do not admit of shades of grey. But I systematically make the error of moving those adjectives onto my own self-assessment. Did I reach that goal? No. Then: I’m a failure.

A friend of mine once said that it takes a special person to be able to set a goal they cannot achieve. The cleverness—in my opinion—in there is that to be that special person, you have to set a goal that you believe you can achieve… and then discover your belief was wrong. I had a belief—some piece of a model of reality, a map of a territory, a piece of knowledge—and I’ve now realized, as I fail to reach a goal, that I was wrong. That’s literally learning.

…so really, every time I fall short on a goal, I’m literally learning and getting better. Every time I set a goal and “succeed,” not so much.