It always feels good to share one’s successes. When a player wins a trophy, they hold it aloft for the world to see the result of their achievement. When the England Lionesses won the Women’s Euro 2022, they quite rightly paraded that trophy around Wembley Stadium for a very long…..who knows, they are probably still celebrating with it now.
When someone writes a blog post, even if the only blog platform available is called tapestry, one gives it a memorable name and nails it to the wall. Or paints a picture, it hangs in a gallery for the admiration of others. A parent proudly displays on the fridge a two-year-old’s “painting” even though to your eye, mummy looks like a velociraptor.
In other words, folk can feel proud of their achievements and successes, they’ve earnt the right to show off. And the feelings that go along with success have surely got to be good for one’s mental health.
But what about one’s failings? What should one do with those? Is there any value in sharing those?
The well-rounded individual, the self-confident person, might say that of course one should own one’s mistakes and let others learn from them. As a society and as a civilization we’ve only ever progressed by making mistakes and figuring out why they went wrong and correcting them in order to try again. I mean, have you seen the prototype pyramids? No, because they fell over. As a child, the saying “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again” was drummed into me, although ironically I was never actually allowed a drum.
And don’t we love sharing other people’s failures? George W’s failure to spell “potato”, Boris’ failure to look cool on a zip wire, Trump’s failure to … oh god how long have you got?
We’ve all sat at our school desks aged five, secretly trying to pen a love note to the target of our, as yet, unrequited love, never quite getting the words right, trying over and over again to express how I felt about her, screwing up and tossing into the bin sheet after sheet of paper in which I compared her beauty to a lovely fluffy dog, or to my favourite dinosaur (spoiler: it turns out that I should have been aiming for “rose”) or waxing poetically about how I hope that my still blossoming love for her can grow if it can be fed by the nurturing silage of romance. Only for the teacher to stop the maths lesson and pick the pieces out of the bin and read them out to the amusement of the class, thereby instantly making me regret actually addressing them to Rachael on the front row.
And signing them.
Sorry. It’s ok, I’m over it, I’ve let it go.
But what is my point?
(Please god this’d better be worth it. Ed.)
My point is, what should you do if ALL of your attempts end in failure? What if you have no successes? What if you try and simply grow flowers and they refuse to come up more than one at a time, or if just before they reach their peak, they bend and break? Or if that delicious meal that you’ve planned simply turns to charcoal? Should you publish those? Sure, they’ll give someone a good laugh, which will make them feel good for a while, but what about you? Does it do you any good to share your failures if there’s nothing good to compare them against?
Who hasn’t sat at a computer at work, trying to order enough bags of barbecue charcoal for a DIY store for their forthcoming hot bank holiday, only to have the police close a motorway because instead of ordering 999 bags for the store you were actually ordering 999 pallets of bags and the line of trucks trying to get into the Portsmouth stretched back into Surrey? (Ok so anecdotal, no-one could be that stupid right?)
The bottom line is that I have no answer.
(Really, so even this blog post fails! Ed.)
And then you hear a chuckle. Someone has laughed. Hopefully with you, though often at you. But that chuckle. Maybe, just maybe, that makes it worthwhile. Maybe you realise that, although you’re an idiot and fail at literally everything, that that in itself seems to bring others pleasure. Whether it’s somehow getting yourself into that all too often predicament of hanging by the minute hand of a ridiculously high clock face, or standing in front of the picture of a railway tunnel that you’ve literally just this second painted onto a rockface only to be immediately run over by a train flying out of it, or you just get hit in the face by your own shed door because, oh my that spring hinge you just fitted is strong.
Obviously this is merely a theoretical question. Surely you don’t think that I’m such an idiot?
Anyway, I’m off to make lunch. I’ve a welding kit and that chicken won’t cook itself!