Someone pointed out to me the other day that much of what we teach children is about resilience. “Don’t give up,” “Get back up and try again,” “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again,” and the like. Important lessons, all, but often as adults we tend to forget these pieces of formative wisdom.
For all too long, I tried to fashion myself into a true perfectionist. In reality, all I became perfect at was becoming my harshest critic and my fiercest tormentor. No one has asked me to inflict this upon myself—I took it on alone and paid a hard price.
It took time, but eventually I began to set aside time to focus on myself and prioritize my own well-being. In the quiet of many crimson mornings before the rest of the world would stir, I seek my own calm before the noise of the waking world begins. I consciously strive to see the promise of a new day. To help others, I know I must first try to help myself. I know that I do have the power to be a force for good and positivity. I cannot guarantee what any day will bring, but I can try. Even if it is just one good thing.
I remind myself of the lyrics of the late George Michael: “Be stronger than your past, the future may still give you a chance.” To my mind, his beautiful ballad was about fortitude-the strength of mind that enables one to endure adversity, to allow yourself to hope and to be resolved.
Mistakes, hiccups, absences, let downs, stumbles, falls are all part and parcel of the makeup of life. To my mind, if you stand still and are afraid to do anything, that is the biggest mistake of all—not just for your own journey, but for the world we all inhabit. Failing to act when we are stricken with adversity is to deprive the world of our talents.
Where would we be without the pioneers of the world? Thank goodness for the researchers at UBC and all their work in developing HVPL (Heart Valve Performance) or the world famous Tel HaShomer Hospital in Tel Aviv, whose dedicated people are leading the way in Biotechnical Innovation.
They all have spotless reputations, but it’s a human fact that all those magnificent research centres with their unique discoveries in pursuit of truth and excellence are also places where failures happen every day! The difference is that, like all other high achievers, they fail well.
They use every misstep and disappointment as a building block, a step towards understanding. It would be a bit of a stretch to say that they celebrate failure, but they understand that to achieve true success one has to be able to look into the darkness, and come out the other side a better, more complete person.
Isn’t it true that often the imperfections and frailties in those whom we love draw us that much closer to them? I don’t claim to be the first to uncover this truth. In fact, it’s been part of philosophical thought for many centuries.
In the Japanese way of Zen, wabi -sabi suggests that we would do well to slow down so as to see beauty in the flawed and imperfect. By extension we also see this in the 15th century art of Kintsugi or “golden repair,” the Japanese art of mending broken porcelain. These once-shattered pieces are rebuilt with dazzling masonry of gold and other precious metals, to make the newly reconstructed piece an entirely new and unique work of art.