Inertia — Nº141
The sharpness of failure or the dullness of regret
The sharp sting when things don’t work out — we’ve all felt it. You put yourself out there, took a chance, and it didn’t pan out.
The animatic story of disappointment sits heavy in the chest, and your mind forces you to replay the moment over and over — as a vivid signal to mull over how things could’ve gone differently.
For you, it might be (or have been) leaving a stable job to start your own business, moving out on your own for the first time, learning to drive, breaking up with X, or putting hesitation to one side and going up to that person you have a crush on.
Failure can come in waves or pile up through the nebulous path, making you feel anguished and ready to throw in the towel. Like myself at times, you’re trying and often failing to do things that are remarkably simple — and you’re quickly agitated bit it.
But consider the alternative: what about the dull, chronic ache you might feel in waves instead, as you are reminded of how unfulfilled you were before? The gnawing voice inside your head whispering “what if?” as complacency slowly suffocates your spirit.
We often have two choices: retreat back into that dull sadness or continue trundling into the unknown, come what may.
We all reach the crossroads where we have to choose between the chance of being seared and stung by failure, or the agitating feeling of regret. And it comes down to whether we let that sharp pain pierce our resolve, or strengthen it.
Every setback or complete failure teaches us something valuable. It’s whether we can see these losses as valuable stepping stones rather than indictments of self-worth or stumbling blocks. The sharp pain always points the way forward. It’s just up to us to see it.
The razor’s edge of defeat hurts in the moment, but it is temporary. When you next see someone able to make the wildly uncomfortable look easy, remember, it’s not that they are immune; they have learned to desensitise and minimise the importance of the sting.
The next time you hesitate at a precipice, remind yourself that discomfort is the price of progress. Sharp pains can be the fuel to fortify your courage. Keep taking those leaps because it is possible to make it across when your eyes are up and focused on the horizon.
The path isn’t always smooth, but each step brings you closer to a vibrant life. One that you were meant for and is yours alone. Let boldness dull the sting of setbacks for you. Because the dullness of a life unlived will hurt far more over time.
Failures are often just minor course corrections. Forcing yourself even further off-course will only do more damage. So be gentle and patient with yourself. Release your expectations and take the risk with dropped shoulders and a deep breath. The reward is always worth it.