Categories
Education self-improvement Success

Winners are Losers Who Gave it One Last Try

I’ve failed many times over the years. I failed to be cautious one night and ended up pregnant with my first child.

I failed in my marriage.

I failed in my first business attempts.

I even failed in my first attempts to start a writing business.

But when I picked myself up, dusted myself off, and tried again, a future attempt inevitably led to success.

One of my myriad failures is concerning my education. I’ve failed several attempts at college. Every time I was forced to choose between my family and my education, my family won.

While I’ve consistently worked to educate myself using the materials I’ve had available, the dream of having an official college education never faded. While I’d not shared it on this website, I’d fully intended to make another attempt at college once I’d regained my financial freedom. I’d built in backup income streams to attain that goal. My plan was to eventually go into real estate as well as build up my writing business so that my income would not only continue to grow but I could pursue my dream of attaining a college education without money being a major concern.

The amazing thing about dreams and goals is that when you hold them close and work on them consistently, opportunities present themselves seemingly like magic.

The other night I encountered one of those opportunities. I stumbled upon the University of the People, an accredited online college that offers a number of degrees tuition-free. Students simply have to pay a $100 testing fee for the final exam in each course.

I ran the numbers in my head. Each semester is ten weeks long with five semesters in a year. Part-time students can take a single course each semester. By reserving $10 a week from my paycheck I could actually afford to go to college on my current income. If I reserved some money from next year’s income tax refund I may even be able to double up and take two classes starting next spring.

The concept was mind-blowing. I could afford to go to college right now! It would reduce the amount I have to invest each month, possibly change things so that I wouldn’t be able to actively invest on a monthly basis but that degree would open doors to higher paying jobs that are closed to me currently. I wouldn’t be able to invest as much in the short-term but in the long-term, the higher earning potential would more than make up the difference.

It would allow me to work smarter instead of harder as I trod the inevitable path towards my golden years.

I went to bed that night with a mind filled with possibilities. I tossed and turned as I analyzed the changes I would have to make to my current budget and schedule. As attractive as it seemed I didn’t want to leap in on an impulse. I’ve had my fill of impulsive failures.

Logic won out. While the thought of undertaking a multi-year journey towards a college degree is daunting I knew I could handle just one class. If I focused on just one class at a time instead of dwelling on the big picture I could attain my goal of a college education without driving myself insane.

That next morning I screwed up my courage and paid the application fee. While there is always a chance that I could be rejected at least I will know that I made the attempt.

I will know that I am still trying.

How do you deal with failure?

All of us have had failures in our lives. How we handle those failures defines us. Do we throw up our hands in surrender or do we step back, evaluate what we did wrong, and try again until we succeed?

When we’re presented with the opportunity to try again after a failure, do we allow it to pass by due to fear or do we seize that chance? Do we climb back on the horse after we’ve fallen off or do we resolve to never go riding again?

I am climbing back on the horse.

What are you going to do?

Categories
Inspiration Personal Recycling

The Story of a Failure

Back when I was in fourth grade we lived within walking distance to my grandparent’s house. Every time I would see one of my uncles or aunts arrive for a visit I would race there in excitement.

I loved visiting with my relatives. One of those visits is indelibly imprinted on my brain. I can’t recall the exact details; I believe I was in school when they initially arrived. I just recall hearing part of an ongoing conversation as I hopped on the porch to knock on the door.

My grandmother was discussing my parents with my aunt. I paused, hand raised. I didn’t want to interrupt them. Being a nosey child I wanted to hear what they had to say so instead of announcing myself I stepped back and listened.

My parents were described as drunks; failures that could no longer support themselves. It didn’t matter that my dad had been in an accident that caused him to lose his leg; they were drunken failures nonetheless.

According to my aunt it was a shame that my parents had created me. I was a waste of humanity because, due to my environment, I would never amount to anything.

I took those words to heart but not in the way that she expected. Deep down I told myself that she was wrong. I would amount to something. I didn’t know what but I would figure it out.

But she was right. I am a failure.

I barely scraped through high school. I ended up pregnant at 19.

I failed college twice. I failed, not only in my selection of a life-mate, but in my attempts to keep the marriage going. I failed my first attempts at being a writer.

I even failed my attempt at suicide.

I failed the Army. I failed my first attempts at starting a business. I failed to sell Avon. I failed to sell Tupperware. I failed to sell phone service. I even failed with Amway.

Failure after failure piled up behind me. My husband would laugh and tell me that I would never survive without him because I was unable to accomplish a single thing. I was lucky that he had rescued me, had saved the local slut after she’d F***ed up and gotten herself pregnant.

I would never amount to anything.

After each successive failure I would have a good cry, dust myself off, and try again.

I became a successful dog breeder after being given two registered animals in a WalMart parking lot. I used the money to purchase a mobile home with the eventual goal of escaping my husband. It took years to work up my nerve and arrange things but I did it. After years of misery I achieved a divorce.

I graduated computer repair school and started my first successful business. I’ll never forget the shock I felt when I earned $1,000 profit my very first month.

I succeeded in juggling four jobs plus the workload of being a single mother. I worked full-time in fast food during the day and divided my evenings and days off between computer repair, working for a cleaning business, and doing the books for another company.

I succeeded in raising my kids without the financial support of a man. I had to get help sometimes but I did it.

Finally, after decades of failure, I achieved financial freedom after I started this website and taught myself how to write and publish books. I rested on those laurels for several years.

But I failed again. I failed to take my own advice about multiple streams of income. I had preached for years to family and friends about the risk of depending on a single source of income. I knew better. I knew from experience just how hard it could be when you lost your only job for whatever reason. But I was cocky. I’d made it. I was free.

I learned that lesson the hard way once more as I watched the changing world of the Internet pick away at my royalties. I even failed to acknowledge the change at first.

I achieved financial freedom but I failed to keep it.

So I did what I do best: I had a good cry, dusted myself off, and moved on. What’s one more failure when you have so many already? I went back to work in a public job as I analyzed my mistakes.

I may have failed but I am not defeated. I will fail as many times as it takes in order to achieve success.

How many times have you failed? Please share your stories in the comments below.

 

 

Categories
Success

Dealing with Challenges

One of the things I haven’t written about lately is the fact that I’m laboring under a distinct challenge: due to the head injury I suffered a while back (2015?), I ended up with demyelinating disease. To sum it up, my memory stinks and is only going to get worse. I also ended up with some physical limitations aside from memory (speech, movement, etc.) but I’m working on those.

From what I understand, if I keep my mind active I can delay the deterioration of my gray matter. Fortunately, that is always something I’ve excelled at – if I can remember to do it.

Once I stopped feeling sorry for myself I resolved to figure out how to function despite the crappy hand Life dealt me. I tried a whole slew of methods to remind myself to do things as well as having to figure out a way to continue writing and publishing books. I have problems seeing, so I dug a spare monitor I had out of mothballs and connected it to my laptop. I can still remember how to format my books using Microsoft Word so I switched back to that program. I even dug out my ancient 11-year old laptop because it could not only connect to the larger monitor I needed to use, it ran Word.

During my desperate thrashing for a method to remember the stuff I need to do I stumbled upon Outlook. It was bundled with the ancient copy of Word that I now use to compose blog posts and write my books. I have figured out that if I put every single task in it as I think about it (or the kid points it out), then I can better keep track of what needs to be done. It even has a journaling section where I can write down the things I’ve accomplished so that I can remember that I’ve done them.

I’m still learning how to use the program but it is helping. I use it to remind me to write every day as well as to tell me when to write and schedule new posts for this website. That is how I’ve managed to start publishing once a week on a regular basis again.

I turn on that ancient laptop first thing every morning, look at the stuff I need to do, and slowly tinker on it throughout the day. I scan in any papers I need to save, logging them in that old program for when I need to retrieve them. That way I just need to run a search instead of trying to remember where I’ve (mis)placed the originals.

I’m telling you this not so that you will feel sorry for me, but so you understand that I don’t feel sorry for myself. Instead of focusing on the stuff I can’t do, I work on ways to get things done. I figure out ways to achieve my goals.

Like my father before me, who invented ingenious ways to solve the problems presented by his amputated leg, I am working out ways to take care of business and support myself despite my challenges.

I want you to remember that. I want you to know that, no matter what, that as long as you keep trying, as long as you keep working, that you can achieve anything. I also want you to understand that you won’t accomplish a damn thing if you sit on your ass and feel sorry for yourself.

If one thing fails, try another. And another. And yet another until you find something that works. Then once you figure out something that works, you use that to keep marching towards your goals.

What goals do you want to accomplish? What methods are you currently trying to achieve them? Please share your stories in the comments below.

Categories
Decluttering

First Night Failure

When I posted that goal for all the world to see, I set myself up for failure.

Knowing that the whole world could read that I just wanted to have my dishes washed before going to bed, I put it out for the world.

Then I cooked a bbq chicken with tons of fixins.

Yup, big messy meal with big messy dishes.

I know better, but I did it anyway. Then after that, instead of getting off my butt and cleaning the kitchen, what did I do?

I watched a movie, that’s what I did!

So this morning I have washed and scrubbed, and have two pans left to wash after they soak a tad.

I’m kinda ticked off at myself.

Oh well – this too will pass. I wanted to be honest and let everybody know how I did on the very first night!

Funny thing is – I was doing pretty good about washing them before bed – before I posted it online that is!

Let this be a lesson as to why you should only pick ONE thing to change at a time – could you imagine how chaotic my life would have been if I had picked more than just one?

Alright, I can’t stand looking at them any longer – time to scrub up those last two dishes!