I love a good movie. I think many of us do. I love the cinematography, the soundtrack, the acting and a well-written script. As much as I love the result of these elements coming together in a nice finished product, I also equally enjoy seeing the blooper reels or outtakes that show the many failures that were needed to create the movie. Sometimes they will shoot a scene over 100 times just to get it the way they want it.
Not only can the bloopers be quite amusing, they also remind us of the hard work and effort required to make something good.
On social media, people from all over the world love to post their personal stories, pictures and videos showing the positive things in their lives. These stories can center on vacations, graduations, work milestones, creative expressions, and many other happy and successful components of our lives.
While there is NOTHING wrong with sharing positive and happy things, we need to take caution. It is easy to find ourselves in a comparison mode. When we look at the lives online portrayed in such a happy way and then we can compare it to our REAL lives that have a full range of human experience like happiness, anger, frustration, failure, disappointment, heartbreak, heart ache, etc., we can get ourselves into trouble. Frequently, when we dip our toes into the pool of comparison, it does not lead to positive outcomes.
We find ourselves comparing our BLOOPER reels with the HIGHLIGHT reels of the people we see on social media.
The bigger theme I am working toward is this: The road to success is paved with the stepping stones of failure.
If our goal is to always make a movie with just one take, or to live a social-media-like happy life, then we are going to find ourselves making frequent visits to the states of frustration, tension, and disappointment that can lead to low self esteem, depression and the squelching of motivation and initiative.
I am frequent poster on Facebook and Instagram. And TBH, 99% of my posts are the happy type of posts that I am speaking about here. Guilty as charged!
One example in my own life that fits the theme of this post pertains to my weightlifting workouts. I have been working for almost two years on my bench press. Whenever I hit a key milestone, I take a picture and post it with a description of the milestone reached. (Here is an example.)
This habit is really only showing one small part of the work – the resulting success. That one time I benched 315 pounds was a very small part of the success behind that lift. In fact, it took several months of work to get to that lift. It is hard, challenging, and painful and sometimes I simply do not want to do it.
Also missing in the posts about hitting my milestones are the many times that I attempt a particular weight but am unable to complete the lift. The video below shows one such example from this past weekend. I was trying for a new personal best of 320 pounds. Not only did I fail, but it was not a good attempt.
I was not able to even get the bar off my chest which is interesting because I was able to do 315lbs much easier as shown in this next video. There is only FIVE pounds difference between the two attempts.
While the difference was just five pounds, it reminds me that progress is not necessarily a straight line. You have probably seen the depiction below showing the mythical pathway to success and the REAL pathway.
The principal discussed herein applies in all aspects of our lives, including our work lives.
At work, especially if it is a high pressure situation, we can lose focus and the ability to realize that success is not just a straight line.
The truth is that we always have to work from where we are. There is no way to escape it. No amount of pressure, impatience, or need for immediate results can change the fact that we have to work from where we are. Fighting against that is folly. On the other hand, recognizing it best prepares you for identifying the path forward to success.
Our end goal is not failure. Our end goal is success. However, failure is so very frequently part of success.
I hope we can be kind to ourselves and others in remembering this.
I also hope I can be kind to myself when I attempt that 320 pound bench press again in a couple weeks! If you want to see how it goes, I will be posting on FB! LOL.