Monday, February 2, 2015

Failure of the Most Epic Kind

So I watched the home team complete the most epic choke in Super Bowl history by failing to do the obvious - hand the ball to their running back, Marshawn Lynch. A no-brainer to just about 100% of the football watching world, yet the brilliant coaching minds of the Seahawks decided to run a pass play that seemed doom from conception. Poor decision that cost the team back-to-back championships and their place in the annals of football history. Instead, they'll be remembered for the play they didn't run. The Seahawks aren't the first ones to fail in an epic way.

We've all been there. Done something we regret. Made a choice we've thought better well after the fact. We may have even ruined a friendship, a marriage or a relationship with a child. Perhaps you've burned a bridge with a former employer that haunts you (and your career) to this day. What can we learn from these mental lapses in judgment, both about how we make choices and about ourselves?

As writers we strive to improve with each and every word. If you've felt the pain of rejection, you may have thought of lashing back at an agent or editor who shredded your work. Even in cases where they rejected you with no explanation, you might have felt anger or resentment. It's times like these we need to step back, take a deep breath and really consider our response, if any.

Our stories and characters are like our children. We've created and nurtured them. They're a part of us and we've put our heart and soul within them. It's natural to feel disappointment and I don't advise stuffing your pain in your pocket. The response is everything.

Just like the Seahawks will surely feel the sting of a lost opportunity until training camp begins next summer, they'll have to move beyond that to reach the pinnacle of the football world again. When we decide to consciously hurt someone else or make a financial decision that can prove lethal to our career or family, we learn that the decision itself is only one step in the process. The bigger step may be learning how to move on and restore faith, trust or a broken relationship.

Epic failures don't need to define WHO we are. They paint only one side of our face. The challenge is to use the other colors on the palate of our live to determine what the outcome of that decision will be and, in turn, what our future will look like.

Have you experienced an epic failure in your personal or writing life? How did you overcome it?

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