“To celebrate the success of those whom we care about is great; but to remain supportive of them when success seems far away is greater. Everyone loves the platitudes about how good lessons can be learned from failure – but in reality, people only admire that from afar. No one really wants to be close to the lesson being learned, or worse, be the one learning it. We say we admire those who persevered through difficult circumstances to finally win – but we seem to admire it less the closer or more involved we are to the person who is persevering. No one WANTS to fail, but sometimes a derailment of one’s plans is unavoidable. Things happen; stuff goes awry; and it’s often how one responds to those situations that makes the difference. But it may take patience, and the understanding of a great secret: there IS no such thing as failure. It doesn’t exist. There is striving to achieve, and choosing whether to stop. That’s it.” — James A. Owen
This author continues to completely blow my mind everytime I read one of his posts. The quote above was a post via Facebook he made only last week. There was no speech about what he wanted to say or no special recognition in trying to make that post stand out. He simply wrote it. That fact alone I find amazing, that he just sat down and wrote something so motivational on Facebook — not a book meant for gems of advice like that (which he also does; I cannot wait for him to release his next book!).
His words ring so true. I cut the quote short, though I might throw in some more snippets of it later within this post, but I don’t think doing that cutting it down diminishes the power of his words at all. He is basically trying to emphasize the important of support that is needed for a person who wants to pursue being a writer. But I think this could be applied to any person who is trying to chase their dreams. After you do become successful, then many people will clap you on the back and tell you how they’ve known you could do it all along; how they’ve always believed in you. And that may very well be true. And while that might be all jolly and good, it isn’t what that dreamer wants or needs. It is during the rough stages, when everyone is telling you you can’t do it or that you’re not good enough to make it, that you really need that support; really need that person to be a solid rock that you can stand on as you fight your way to trying to get to where you want to go. Those people never realize how much they are needed and how much they can affect or help you on your journey. I think so many people only focus on those who are already successful that they give no notice to the ones who are still trying to make their way. People spend too much time feeding the full rather than supporting the starving. And that sucks.
It also reminds me of the song “Prove Me Right” by Memphis May Fire, off their latest album, “Challenger.” One of their verses is: “Where were you when they had no faith in us/where were you when they shut us out?/It’s funny you show up now….” They are basically saying that the people who weren’t supporting them while they were cast aside as nothing have no right to claim anything, saying “we did this on our own/thanks for nothing.” I think it goes well with Owen’s quote of calling out those who only show support once fame — or more often than not, money — starts accumulating. The support should be constant, from the beginning, not just when the dream is captured.
Yet the other point Owen makes is a new one to me, but I really like it. He claims that failure doesn’t actually exist. You can only truly “fail” if you give up. That is such an empowering idea, because it puts all the control in your hands and switches the perspective a bit. I’m just going to stick with the writing example just because I know most about that. Based on Owen’s ideas, viewing never getting published as a failure is wrong — or impossible, even. It is when you stop trying to get published that you fail. While it may sound harsh, I find it rather inspiring. I can take comfort in the fact that I am still a writer 50 years down the road, even if I’m not published, as long as I’m still putting in the effort to better my talents and never stop trying. I think it is also an idea that will help you eventually reach your dreams, because it enables you to continue to use your talents. And as you continue to use your talents, you continue to improve them, which increases your chances of correcting the mistakes you were rejected for earlier. Owen’s mindset allows you to not view rejections or less favorable outcomes as failures but as stepping stones to improve your craft until you get to where you want to go. And I think that’s a pretty cool way to think.
Basically, Owen is just a motivational genius. That’s all you really need to know. So if you need some inspiration, definitely look into his work. It’s nothing short of legit.