Our times are forcing people to examine failure. Right now many people are feeling they have failed against the larger world. The future looks bleak to many people.
I am getting asked now, how to work against this?
How would a Taoist react to failure?
My personal reaction against failure is this:
Within a philosophy of acceptance,
In the larger sense there is no failure.
However, in living, in the moment, in being separated from each other, this question becomes very real. Differences from interpersonal relationships and the desire to focus in on details opens the possibility of failure to arise.
When focusing on oneself, on goals, on expectations, a person does set themselves up for both success and failure. Taking a Yin Yang approach means action can be broken into terms of success and failure.
When making an error, or experiencing a problem: accept the situation and then move to balance it with success.
Often we have to change the way we hold our values to move around failure. Often we need to avoid letting despair or depression define us in a manner that undercuts us to think we have failed in life.
It is easy to think you have failed when the social system itself is playing a game designed to make you fail. So go beyond the games and you can go beyond failure.
I am seeing many people living in despair, acting in despair and as a result losing their power to despair.
First: despair is an unstable diminishing place of spirit. To act in despair will limit and undercut all your future actions to failure.
This means learning to release despair, since despair is dis-empowering.
In part: one way to counteract despair and failure is by living with awareness in the now rather than fearing a future that isn’t here yet. Often a person needs to step ahead with many smaller steps and avoid doing nothing in despair. Many people fail simple because they give up before starting.
Secondly: Many people experience failure because they fight fights they don’t need to fight.
Instead: be strong in who you are, be kind in who you are and pick and only choose the fights that matter.
Everyone can do this, it’s part of the Taoist teachings. It requires modesty so you minimize fights over power, it requires non-judgement, to release other people’s judgement and in that release conflict.
It requires kindness so that you don’t give up your own essence but stand strong in it. Kindness means to give to both yourself and others *Equally*.
Success is often completing one’s essence and failure represents actions that take us further away from our essence. So often times we lose track of ourselves and the roots of failure come from mis-measuring ourselves.
So in confronting the fear of failure: Are you ready to simplify down to truly living your life, rather than acting out to the rules and projections of others? You will fail when trying to live to outside measures but succeed when living against your own essence.