The Blessings of Failures

by my buddie Sean Patrick Simpson

‘God dammit, look what I did.’

‘I’m such a failure.’

‘There I go, screwing up again.’

‘Why do I have to be such a f**k up?’

‘Why can’t I be good at anything?’

Have thoughts like these ever gone through your head? Have you ever kicked yourself for not succeeding at something? If you have, then perhaps you’re looking at failures in a negative light.

You say: “Duh Sean! Failures are negative! How could they not be?”
Ahhh, grass hopper! Let’s take a dive into the realm of altered perception…

What are failures?

They are not signs to tell you to stop trying.
They are not signs for you to give up.
They are not signs that you do not have the ability to be successful.

What I believe failures are, are opportunities.
Opportunities to grow! They are successes in finding one more way something doesn’t work, or one more area in our life to improve so we can build a magnificent structure.

What’s the structure? YOU ARE!

Wouldn’t you rather the structural support beams you create for a building collapse immediately…rather than put them up, create a magnificent building upon the faulty support systems, and then watch it all come crumbling down after so much time and energy has been put into creating it?

The analogy is like YOU becoming super successful, but with faulty foundations to sustain your success, in which case what you have achieved blows up to hell.

Personally, I would hope that the faulty support beams crumble immediately before building upon them. In that case, I would welcome failures so I could create a sturdy foundation.

No one avoids failure
There are several things you can be absolutely certain about in life, and one of them is that you will fail. No doubt about it, you will have many failures in your life. In fact, you’ll probably have more failures than you do successes. It’s your choice if those ‘failures’ are negative experiences or not. I personally believe that there is no right or wrong, good or bad…a concept I learned from my dear mentors Scott deMoulin and his wife Dallyce Brisbin. We can look at the time we fell off our first two wheeled bicycle as a failure, or we could just laugh and jump back on, and not even remember falling off because the so called ‘failure’ wasn’t even something our innerself identified with as a failure.

Count your failures, count your blessings
No, I’m not telling you to count two different things. I’m telling you to count the SAME thing! Failures and blessings: they’re one and of the same. They are part of the same piece. It’s the yin to the yang when you adopt the perspective I am suggesting.

You see, what we view in life, no matter what it may be, is viewed through the spectacles of perception. Failure and success are in and of themselves merely perceptions of our own choosing (though many people don’t realize there is in fact a choice). If that’s the case, could we not look at our failures simply as blessings preparing us for our magnificent future?

Burned to hell
I’ve been burned. In fact I’ve been burned really bad…

Really, really bad…


But I don’t define myself by the times I’ve been burned.
I do not define myself by my failures…
Nor do I define myself by my successes.

The definition of the I that I am is simply a being that is on this earth to experience life’s ups and downs, the beauty’s and the torments, the love and the darkness. That is the definition of who I am. That is the definition of my highest self.

Okay, so I do define myself a bit by my successes…
If you’ve read some of my past posts you’ll have been witness to the fact that I enjoy some paradoxes and contradictions that eastern philosophies truly embrace.

While I just said that I am defined as an experiential being…I do see that as one part of my definition. It is what I believe to be my core essence that is not maintained by my ego.

But we do live in a world where ego is an entity, and that’s okay! That’s fine and dandy! Like I said earlier, there is nothing right or wrong, good or bad about anything…that goes for the ego as well.

Side note: If you’ve never learned about the separateness of the ego and that which you truly are, order Eckhart Tolle’s book ‘A New Earth’ immediately. Right now! DO IT!
In the realm of my ego, I define my success by the amount of love and connection I am able to share and create with people. And I can guarantee you if you ask anyone who is in my life, they’ll tell you I create a lot of it!

How do I do it? I believe part of it is due to the little focus on failures and hurts in my life. While some people will have a failure and take it with them to their grave…I see failures as opportunities to grow. Opportunities to learn more, and opportunities to love more.

The same goes for being hurt or having a crushed heart. I view them as opportunities to grow…to learn more…to love more…to practice forgiveness, compassion…and most importantly practicing presence and non-attachment to the needs and hunger of the ego.

If my focus was on failures throughout life, the love within me wouldn’t have room to grow and connect to others.

How do you define yourself?
I believe that the true definition of the higher self for all of us would be very close to what I mentioned earlier: in that we are experiential beings here to experience everything from the ups and downs, to the beauty and torment, all while coming from a place of non judgement (as that’s the essence of the higher self).

Again though, in the nature of embracing and accepting the fact that we have an ego that enjoys various pleasures and successes, how do you define yourself? What drives you most? To help figure it out, knowing your deepest need will help…

What is your fundamental human need?
Tony Robbins says that we all have six human needs; fundamental drives within each one of us that compel us forward in a quest to experience a life of meaning. Those six needs contain the…

Four primal needs:

And the two spiritual needs:

Tony suggests that while everyone contains all six, we are each driven most by two out of the six, and that it is all dependent upon the individual.

Picking two out of the six is a little tough for me…but I can tell you my very deepest need:

Personal Connection/Love
There’s a reason I have so many very dear people in my life I call family. It’s because of this need that is so true to my core.

Defining yourself through your fundamental need
So what is your deepest need? When you read the six variations above, which is the one that stands out to you the most?

After knowing that, you should be a step closer to defining yourself too. The definition I gave myself earlier was:

“In the realm of my ego, I define my success as the amount of love and connection I am able to share and create with people.”

Remember, this isn’t an end-all definition. If I meditated on the definition of my true self for a longer period of time, I would probably come with a much more indepth answer. A month or even a year from now my answer would most likely be completely different as well. I believe we are ever-evolving, so a definition that changes is completely natural.

From failure to needs to self definition
We’ve covered a lot of concepts in this post. So I’m excited to read your thoughts and responses. To help organize your thoughts, here are the topics and questions to consider in your response:

What failures in your life have you experienced that could really be blessings?
What is your most fundamental human need (1 out of the 6)? Can you pick 2? Why do you choose that one?
What is your one sentence definition of yourself?

Remember, there is no right or wrong, good or bad. Whether is, is. Allow your failures to be learning lessons that propel you to ultimate success!

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