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School is supposed to teach us how to be prepared for the world. However, there’s one thing that we learn in school, especially if we focus a lot on our grades, that really doesn’t serve us well. That’s the concept of “failure”. As kids learning to walk or talk, we don’t think about failure. If we fall, we get back up again and keep going. That’s how we learn. It isn’t until we get into the school environment where grades and “passing” or “failure” take up a lot of our thought processes, that we discover that there is such a thing as failure. And that’s a shame, because those lessons tend to stick with us for the rest of our lives.

It’s easy — too easy really — to set up arbitrary guidelines for ourselves as authors. I’ll be a published author before I’m 30. Or I will sell enough books to quit my day job before I’m 40. In some ways those beliefs are rooted in the hopes and dreams we have for our writing, and we believe that we can make them. If we examine these beliefs thoroughly, we’re not setting ourselves up for failure. We want to succeed. But life happens. Those goals get delayed. And we feel like we “failed”.

Did we really? We’re still writing. We’re still publishing. And we’re still working towards those goals.

One of the best things that we can do for ourselves is discard the notion of failure. You didn’t fail. You may have been temporarily delayed. Postponed. But the opportunities are still there. Nothing is “passing you by”.

As we move into this season of gratitude and thankfulness, I encourage you to also examine your concept of failure. See it for what it is, an arbitrary guideline taught to us as small children, but not something we need as adults. Think about how that word plays a role in your life, and then kick it to the curb. You don’t need to take the concept of failure with you into 2021.

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