Saturday, May 17, 2014

"Failure At Life" Seeks the Secret To Success

Dear Tazi:

Why is it some people have such successful lives while others of us struggle every day to try and make it big? I don’t mean falling into a pile of money by winning the lottery, although that would be nice; I mean plain old success – being able to find financial success in a job that fulfills, a lasting romance, and an end to the drama that seems to follow me wherever I go, encasing me like a mummy in its tomb. Believe me when I tell you, I am a failure at life.

Is there some secret to success that I am missing? Or is it all just dumb luck/the luck of the draw? And why is it that I always seem to draw the short straw at everything I attempt – from work to romance to just having friends I can count on to be there for me when I need them? I could go on and on, but I think you can see what I mean. I have failed at completing a [college] degree the multiple times I have tried and I have failed at the many career paths I have tried, both of which have contributed to a string of failed relationships that have left me feeling hollow inside. There I go again – I said I would stop, and I went on and on in spite of my desire not to [...] I have even failed at writing this letter.

Chasing Mr. Tambourine Man

Dear Chasing Mr. Tambourine Man:

I assume your signature is in reference to the lyrics of the Bob Dylan song. How...I want to say sad, but I don’t think pity is what you seek; nor is it what I am trying to impart. In all honesty, you sound like you are at the point where you enter every situation expecting the worst and thus experience a self-fulfilling prophecy. Is this due to depression or just a negative outlook on life? You may find mental health counseling to be beneficial.

To answer your question as to why some people are so successful, I refer to Thomas Edison, who once said “the harder I work, the luckier I get”. Edison was, of course, not suggesting that hard work leads to luck; just that hard work – the behind-the-scenes work that others rarely see – leads to successful results. Edison was an Inventor, a man who had a scientific mind and was able to create mechanisms that society found to be of use and value – the light bulb, the phonograph, and the movie camera the best known among them; but these three examples are only a small sample of the many patents – over 1,000 – that Mr. Edison held. Many of these inventions were abject failures, such as the idea of concrete furniture. Yes, that means actual furniture, for the home, made of concrete; which during Mr. Edison's time was prohibitively expensive.

You say that you are seeking work that offers both financial success and personal fulfillment. This combination is a rare one, indeed. Work was not designed to fulfill the soul – for that, we have recreation. Work was designed so that we can make a living. Even the most enjoyable jobs have plenty of days where the tasks grate on your mind, body, and soul; where you feel unappreciated and wish for more. So long as you are not bursting into tears at the thought of going into work, try to find contentment in your job rather than fulfillment.

You mention that you have failed to attain a degree the multiple times you have tried to complete one. College is a challenge that requires us to accept that we still have things to learn, and we must reach beyond our comfort zone in order to stretch our abilities. Even if you chose to study something that fulfills you, this does not guarantee that schooling will be easy or fun. If this is what you were expecting, it could be the reason you found failure instead of success. If you chose to concentrate in only one area – to put all of your eggs in one basket, so to speak – this could be another reason why success has eluded you.

Most colleges recommend that you broaden your skills set by completing a minor program of study in something opposite your major. For example: if you major in Business, you could minor in Cultural Anthropology (a great combination, which will help you deal with International clients) or Theatre/Acting, which would instill great sales skills. If you did the opposite – majored in Art or Theatre – you could minor in Education or Marketing, which would allow you to teach and/or better market your own work to potential customers.

As for romance and lasting friendships; a flower cannot bloom under stressful conditions, and neither can a relationship. I realize that most humans seek companionship (this desire is foreign to us cats!), but until you are ready to love yourself it is highly doubtful that you will be able to hold up your end of a loving relationship with another - romantic or platonic. I suggest you take a break from romance until you have put your life together and have worked on being they type of friend you would like to have. Not only will this give others the strength to remain by your side during the bad times, but it will help you to develop the emotional fortitude required to give what a relationship requires.

Overall, there is no one recipe for success; but there are several common ingredients, including the offering of a skill that society deems necessary and worthwhile. The rarer that necessary and/or worthwhile skill, the better chances you have of finding success with it. Combined with hard work that is aimed at the proper target, success should not elude. You may be the world’s best salesperson, but if you are trying to sell a bicycle to a fish you will meet with failure every single time.


P.S. This is a last minute edit, but RuPaul put it so wonderfully! "[It's] [h]ard to remain patient with friends who focus solely on their own crucifixion..." - RuPaul (via Facebook)

Ask Tazi! is ghostwritten by a human with a Bachelors of Arts in Communications. Tazi-Kat is not really a talking feline.

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