Success or failure?

“Your success or failure is in your own mind!”- Think and Grow Rich

Yesterday my mom and I got a massage together. Before the massage I received a positive affirmation (the quote above). It really made me think. So while I was lying on the table, I thought about the quote and the words I would write in response.

Success? Failure? It made me think a little about my first marathon that I ran last summer. When I think about it, my mind thinks that I was a failure. I didn’t get the time that I wanted. To me that equates with failure. The first 3 hours were great, in fact I was quite successful. Then I hurt my knee. I spent the next 3 hours walking the last 8 miles in moderate to extreme pain. Besides childbirth, those 3 hours were the most physically painful hours I have ever experienced in my life. But I finished the marathon.

Did I achieve success or failure? When I crossed the finish line I entered the ranks of the 1 in 200 US citizens that completes a marathon. If I look at it that way, I feel successful. It was something I earned. It is rarer than being left handed (8 out of 100) or having AB blood type (3 out of 100) both of which groups I was born into. Most people would view my completion of a marathon a success even if in my mind I feel like I am a failure.

I am 41 years old. Am I old? I would bet that most of you that are quite a bit younger would say that I am old. Those of you that are older, think that I am young. Most people around my age are thinking that I am not terribly old. It is all about perspective. We judge others by ourselves. I can’t seem to escape the perspective of my own mind. I could look only at statistics, but not for very long before my own judgments sneak in.

I might think that I am rather smart. But I wouldn’t feel that way if I was constantly surrounded by geniuses. I judge your writing by my writing. I judge your age by my age. If I am bad at something, I will think that you are good. If I am good at something, I will be a harsher critic. I judge everything by my own yardstick. Your beauty, age, intelligence, income level, etc is all about me.  

Back in the beginning of January, I uploaded a video of Angel and I singing. I didn’t show our faces, just a blank screen. If you were to listen to it, I am sure that everyone would have an entirely different perspective. Some would think that Angel is a better singer (she is). Some would point out every error. Some would be able to hear the differences in our voices, some would not. 

If only we could get outside of our own mind. But how can that be done? I can be empathetic and relate to you for a short period of time, then I find myself back in my own head again. I can’t escape myself for very long. My needs, wants, stereotypes, thoughts, feelings, strengths, weaknesses, judgments, and life experiences cloud my ability to see you. 

Wow, that is pretty deep for a Saturday afternoon.  

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