It is a thin and inconsequential book, the one that success writes. Failure, by comparison, is a playwright’s dream—dark, depthless and quiveringly quiet, like Robert Frost’s woods or Paul Simon’s blacked-out bathroom.
It is impossible to fail on purpose. The man who does this has, after all, succeeded. Failure is the Paschal mystery. It’s where the new me is forged.
Don’t forget that failure is your friend. So when it knocks at your door, make it some tea. After the age of 30, says Richard Rohr, success has nothing more to teach us.
When we break it down, we find that there is only one failure—the failure to trust in oneself. Ralph Waldo Emerson described self-trust as the iron string to which all else vibrates.
I feel sorry for the man who has managed to put off failure until his 60s or 70s. Generally speaking, failure at that age has no redemptive purpose; it’s too shattering.
It is better to crash the bus early, in our 20s or 30s. We have resiliency then, and suppleness.