Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Learn the Lessons, Avoid the Pain | The Catalog of Failed Attempts

Yesterday, Shira came home and found me in a glum mood. The problem I explained, was that Jupiter's YoYo attempt of the PCT had ended in failure. Mind you, I don't really know Jupiter, his failure happened over a year ago and from comments I see that he's fine and heading out on the trail soon. Still, if an uplifting story or song can raise your mood, then surely it's reasonable that a failed attempt should bring you down. That's just quality film making.

Jupiter, however, is self aware enough to know that this failure doesn't define him. As he explains:

I'm obviously not happy about the outcome of this hike but I am happy that it can share a story not often shown. I like to think about it as if it's skateboarding. Those guys fall and fall and fall. But ya know the strongest get back up and try again. Our 'trick' is just on a longer timescale but the lesson is the same.

It's in this spirit that I was glad I watched Jupiter's story and was glad to add him to my Catalog of Failed Attempts (CFA). The CFA exists for an obvious reason: if experience is the best teacher then learning from other's failures is an invaluable (and pain free!) opportunity.

You might think it's a bit harsh to keep a list of people's failed attempts, but I think it showcases an important trend. Everyone on the list has and will continue to have amazing accomplishments. Take Jupiter. Sure, his PCT adventure didn't go as planned. But neither did his first thru hike attempt of the AT. After that trail, he successfully completed the 4,800 mile Eastern Continental Trail. I'd love it as much as the next person if we could have our failures early (or better yet, not at all!) and be done with them. But as long as you're leaving your comfort zone failure is very much an option.

At its core, the catalog is all about embracing and learning from failure, not dreading it.

Any attempts you can suggest adding to my list?

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