Saturday, April 22, 2006

Failure is not a given

I was recently involved in a magazine project that had great promise but egos took precedence over business and artistic sense.  The number of times people defeat themselves is amazing.  After thinking about this tendency I’ve come to the conclusion that while everyone wants success on some level, many people are simply afraid to achieve.  This sound preposterous but based on my experience, which is considerable, it is true.

Why would this be so?  The root of the problem probably lies in childhood and to some extent in genetic evolution.  The former I am fairly certain of the latter is purely a speculative thought.  Many, if not all, young parents are completely unprepared to raise their children.  Most seem to think that food, shelter, and discipline are all that is needed to fulfill their parental obligations.  Of course those are the basics but much more is required for the children to become successful adults;  that is decent human beings.  Unfortunately the young parents are themselves at sea with what to do once the result of sexual intercourse comes to live with them for the next 20 odd years.

The extent of discipline is loud “NO” and sometimes striking the child.  Both of these actions result in the child becoming insecure and doubtful of their worth.  I’m not one who thinks self-esteem is the responsibility of the schools; it belongs to the parents.  After all what should one think when the provider of life, love, and all the rest also assaults one?  There is another aspect of growing up that is ignored or falsely addressed; what is life about and how should one cope with it?  Most parents don’t discuss with their children how to deal with every day problems.  Perhaps this is because they are having difficulty themselves. Parents today have children’s lives so organized that they don’t have time to be children and so lose the opportunity to play on their on terms.  There are legitimate reasons for this state of affairs but they can be coped with in other ways.

The world is a dangerous place for children today, not that it hasn’t always been so, but it seems to be reverting in recent times.  Children should be protected but not overly so; they should be treated with respect and encouraged at whatever interests they show.  This is particularly true of reading.  Without the ability to read, understand, and question life becomes very difficult indeed.  To be able to comprehend the world and one’s place in it is a gift that is rarely given.

People go out in to society expected to have the skills to succeed; most do not.  The lack of such skills is evident in binge drinking, drug abuse, and malingering.  Confident people don’t need crutches. It might be said that this is false on its face because look at all the “successful” people.  That is a question for another time, simply earning money is not success.

People fail because they expect to, not because they want to.  Try it sometime, pick something that is not too difficult but is a bit of a stretch.  Go after it with confidence and determination, they result will be surprisingly pleasant.

No comments: