Finding Dead End Roads

It seems a bit difficult in these modern times to actually get lost. With GPS on every smartphone and answers to every question we imagine found on Google, getting lost is a matter of losing one’s self.

There is a sense of beauty in getting lost, exploring new places, new ideas, new recipes, new things of all sorts. Sometimes though, getting lost is the best way to find what you’re actually looking for.

This week I uncovered a video that talks about failures. It mentions some of the greatest achievers, the greatest minds and talent we’ve ever known and points out their personal discouragements. Yet all these people managed to become someone special. That really struck a note with me. Maybe like you, I get down on myself and the things I’m trying to achieve, and I forget how so many others have failed miserably before they finally achieved their famous success.

Maybe the problem with most of us is rejection. Many a great writer has gone unpublished and unknown because those first few manuscripts were turned down one time too many before they ended up in the trash. The famous Dr. Seuss met with twenty seven rejections of his first manuscripts and yet today his name is a household word. I don’t much like rejection but some of my greatest work has come from the things people didn’t like.

Spending hours pouring over your work only to be told it isn’t good enough seems like a huge waste of time; been there done that a lot!

I’ve been down a lot of dead end roads. Dead end jobs, dead end projects, dead end relationships and dead end convictions. But the one thing I’ve done without change is to get back up, to turn around and move in a different direction, to keep my legs moving, my mind thinking and my heart filled with ambition.

Sometimes we get knocked down so many times we wonder, “why bother to get up?” Sometimes staying down seems a lot more comforting than facing failure again and again.

It’s very important to remember that dead end roads are in themselves a form of success. We discover things about ourselves, our methods and emotions, our abilities and skills, our hopes and dreams. We discover who we are by the things we fail at. The only real mistake is not learning from our mistakes.

As a matter of fact that’s why we practice things. Failure is what teaches us to be stronger, to build character and determination. Making mistakes fine tunes our ability to know the difference between what works and what doesn’t work. Falling down serves as a reminder what not to do.

I love to go hiking. Getting outdoors and walking nature trails is one of my great passions. I’ve hiked miles of the Appalachian Trail and I’ve been down a lot of paths that looked promising and ended up going nowhere. But no matter how far off track I got there was always the one thing that remained. I was in my element, I was outdoors doing something I enjoyed in an environment that gave me a thrill. It was the scenery I loved along the way.

Life is all about the scenery. It’s about finding dead end roads and turning around to walk a new path.

There’s no promise that there will be a pot of gold at the end of your trail. But there is a promise that if you don’t keep trying there will never be a pot of gold and you’ll miss a lot of the scenery along the journey.

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