Is it really true that what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger? To find out so we asked six writers to give us their perspective on taking risks, abandoning comfort zones, coping with failure and rising out of the ashes. We hope you’ll find both inspiration as well as practical advice on how you can turn failure into fuel. Enjoy!
At a recent dinner party, sitting around a fire pit, the sky darkened and conversations turned more serious. Someone asked what each of us wanted to do next. It’s the kind of question that precedes a milestone, like when your youngest child moves out. But on this evening, it was unexpected and I felt a pang of doubt.
When I moved to Hawaii, I knew I’d find palm trees and warm azure blue water. I didn’t know the water would be super salty and I’d be able to float in it for minutes at a time. It held me in a way that allowed me to look into the sunny skies and find myself.
As I drove my new little black Ford EcoSport from Santa Fe to Boulder on Interstate 25, my husband, Matt, read his emails, while we listened to our daughter talk to us on the car phone. Suddenly, I called out, “A bear. A bear. A bear.” There, on the side of the highway, an adolescent black bear was climbing the hillside.
Warren Buffet famously says, “An idiot with a plan can beat a genius without a plan.” Planned events like weddings, birthdays, and funerals are the cornerstones of life. But even the best planning can’t shield us from life’s inevitable curve balls, the disappointing realities of divorce, unemployment, and financial loss. Failure will happen.
There I was, sitting in the dentist’s waiting room, filling out a new-patient questionnaire. It was simple until I got to the marriage status box: single, married, widowed, divorced, separated. For the first time in my life, I didn’t know which box to check.
There’s no way we’re going to be on time for the luncheon. Blame it on lingering too long at the funeral parlor, taking in all the photos of my deceased cousin that were tacked to the wall, reminiscing about happier times. Then the drive through unfamiliar countryside only makes it worse, my dad next to me in the front seat navigating a left turn here, a hard right there
Step outside your comfort zone. Is that sound advice? No. It’s not sound advice, ever, under any circumstances. And to be clear: it’s not just wrong, it’s counter-evolutionary. The species by design has been uncomfortable since the day we climbed down from the trees and learned to balance on two wobbly legs.