Mar 24, 2022

A referee holds a red card. In front of him is a missed target, illustrating the concept of failure and the ways we learn from failing.

We first encounter failure in learning to walk—we fall down, the root definition of failure. Coming up short is a lifelong experience that stretches from mishaps and lapses to shock waves that shake our lives. Failure can make us doubt our worth, shatter certainties, and fill us with shame. Failure punctures ego’s false sense of sovereignty. When we are out of alignment with inner or outer life, a gap opens, and we fall victim to ambition, misjudgment, or impulsivity. Failure is a call to self-confrontation, humility, and resilience. We can recognize the limits of our conscious attitude and our dependence on the unconscious. Failure can imbue us with a higher sense of purpose that is in service to a greater good, including our own.

Here’s The Dream We Analyze:

“A woman (like my wife, but more mysterious and mischievous) and I were given a mission. The Sun was setting, and we were told that if we traveled toward the sunset, or rather—since we were to leave in the morning—with the rising Sun to our backs, we would reach Norway. We came to a narrow, concealed canyon with train tracks, and the woman caused a cave-in that forced the train to stop. It was carrying some sort of ore. We met the crew without raising their suspicions, and they took us through the canyon’s closed, concealed entrance into their country. One of the crew pointed out in the distance a harbor full of the end product of the ore: beautifully and skillfully crafted boats. You had to be a citizen of their country to own one, but people from around the world came to rent them. He then took us into a wood-paneled room (like from a club in Edwardian England) and showed us a rapier and broadsword, also made from the ore. As he demonstrated how to use and care for them, I felt intimidated or unsure about being able to use them myself.” 

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1 Comment

  1. Alycia


    Defeat, my Defeat, my solitude and my aloofness;
    You are dearer to me than a thousand triumphs,
    And sweeter to my heart than all world-glory.

    Defeat, my Defeat, my self-knowledge and my defiance,
    Through you I know that I am yet young and swift of foot
    And not to be trapped by withering laurels.
    And in you I have found aloneness
    And the joy of being shunned and scorned.

    Defeat, my Defeat, my shining sword and shield,
    In your eyes I have read
    That to be enthroned is to be enslaved,
    And to be understood is to be leveled down,
    And to be grasped is but to reach one’s fullness
    And like a ripe fruit to fall and be consumed.

    Defeat, my Defeat, my bold companion,
    You shall hear my songs and my cries and my silences,
    And none but you shall speak to me of the beating of wings,
    And urging of seas,
    And of mountains that burn in the night,
    And you alone shall climb my steep and rocky soul.

    Defeat, my Defeat, my deathless courage,
    You and I shall laugh together with the storm,
    And together we shall dig graves for all that die in us,
    And we shall stand in the sun with a will,
    And we shall be dangerous.


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