“My great concern is not whether you have failed, but whether you are content with your failure.” (Abraham Lincoln)
My friends had been talking about it for over a year, so I knew that I was a bit behind the curve, but when I finally started playing Angry Birds, I liked it. I liked it being broken down into levels and sub-levels that you can quickly work, that it’s challenging but not overly confidence eroding, because it requires strategic thinking, and because it has a sense of humor. I also liked it because I completed every level, to some degree of success, within 48 hours (but no, I didn’t play it for two days straight).
So here’s the thing: about six of the games got incredibly frustrating. I kept trying over and over and over again – examining the structures where the pigs were hiding and trying to get the slingshot at just the right angle to send those aviary missles and obliterate the porkers. If only I could just get that stupid bird to hit that corner board just perfectly…
Suddenly a popular phrase came to mind, “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” My first response was, “But this should work!” and continued on. And continued to fail. Eventually I sat back and took a big breath and decided to take a couple of potshots, not trying to hit anything, but just seeing how high I could launch a bird or what would happen if I didn’t release an egg bomb. Surprise surprise surprise. Unexpected destruction ensued. Frustration ended. Fun returned. When I got stuck again, I pursued that modern miracle – the internet – for clues on attack angles and timing. Success again. Now I don’t know how successful it might look if I compared it with other peoples results, but I feel pretty good about it.
Will you be at all surprised when I suggest the same strategy when you get frustrated with your temporary lack of success? Go ahead and take a couple of potshots – things you know won’t help, things that might not make sense, things that go against your normal line of thinking. It could very well open the way for seeing it all differently. And go ahead and browse the internet or ask people involved in the same area of expertise or do other research to find out how others broke through troublesome times. There’s no rule that says you have to figure it all out without any help.
While researching some possible ideas for this blog, I came across a website that purported itself to be an expert on self-improvement. It loudly proclaimed several suggestions for reaching success. Suggestions like “you really don’t have much time to do what you want to do since you’re making a beeline for death – so you better hurry up and get with it.” And one about forgetting about helping other people along the way. It was a totally serious site. But the one that really irritated me? They said it was a total myth that you are important, reminding the reader how “remarkably insignificant you are” in the vastness of the universe. Fortunately several commenters on the site were as appalled as I was.
It is not possible to emphasize deeply enough that YOU are a remarkable person. Not because of anything you can do, but simply because there is no one exactly like you, with your experiences, your set of skills, and your view of life. God created you on purpose, for a purpose – and nothing he creates is insignificant. The world is waiting for you to influence it. You may do it loudly and for many. You may do it quietly for a few. But you are never insignificant.