Over the past few weeks, your mission in life has become to figure out a way to move using only two of the four meat sausages you currently need to have planted on the floor in order to move. That is to say, you’re trying to take your first steps. You’re getting there, Blue. It won’t be long now, but have you earned it. You’ve taken more spills than I care to count, and each time you do, without hesitation you take a deep sigh and then get right back up on your feet, ready to try again.
I want to talk to you about perseverance, Blue. Right now, you have a nearly endless supply of it, but as you get older, something happens to our notion of never giving up as fear of failure enters the picture. You’ll hear about this quality a lot throughout your life, and for good reason. Of all the keys to success, perseverance is the skeleton key. It gets you in no matter how hard the lock.
At some point in the future, you will find out your talents. I’m excited for this for you, because honestly, at this point I have no idea where your talents lie. You like cars, balls and shoving things off of horizontal spaces. You can also point. So…we’ll have to come back around to that talent talk later.
But when you do find that talent, you’re going to find out about Awesometown.
Awesometown is where you go when you’ve figured out how to use your talents to be the most awesome you can be. It’s not Goodville or Mehopolis or Greatburg. It’s Awesometown, and to get to it you’re going to have to get on the train that takes you there.
It’s an amazing, adrenaline-soaked feeling when you finally do step on that train. You feel alive, like you’ve finally found your way in this world as the fields blur by outside. Along the way, you might pass through previously mentioned Mehopolis and Goodville and Greatburg, but you don’t stop, because you’re on your way to the one and only Awesometown. Nothing else will do.
Except…the train stops anyway. You find yourself in the bustling hamlet of Fail Rapids. You step off the train, thinking that it’s just a short delay on the journey, only to come to the truth that everyone who tries to get to Awesometown understands. The train doesn’t go all the way to Awesometown. There are no easy routes. In fact, there are no more routes at all. Not to Awesometown, at least.
The truth sinks in over a failbeer at the failbar. A stay at the Fail Inn. A taco at Taco Fail. Basically, a whole lotta fail. That is everything Fail Rapids can offer, and while none of it is particularly appetizing, you’re intrigued and maybe a little dismayed to discover that of all the towns you passed through, the population count here rises higher than any other.
And after having your final fail taco, you decide to walk down the road toward Awesometown. Soon, you come to the end of that, too, at the edge of a very deep, very rocky canyon. At the bottom is the town’s namesake, Fail Rapids. You look for a signs of the road, or at the very least a path, on the far side of the canyon. There’s nothing. Just a thick blanket of pine trees covering the ground.
You see an old man sitting on a tree stump next to the rim of the canyon. He looks out over the canyon stoically, because there is absolutely no other way to stare out over a canyon other than stoically. He doesn’t turn as you approach, but as you do, a hawk lands on his shoulder. Dude has Awesometown written all over him.
“Excuse me,” you start to say, “are you from Awesometown?”
“I am,” the old man replies.
“How do you get over there?”
The old man doesn’t say anything. Instead, he flicks his eyes down to the canyon floor. In case you didn’t get it, the hawk drops off his shoulder and soars down the canyon. (Sidenote: All hawks, everywhere, are residents of Awesometown.)
“There’s no path,” you say apprehensively.
“That’s right. You must find your own way over there. That’s the only way to Awesometown.”
You look down. The rocks are jagged. Shards of stone gather at the bottom like chunks of broken glass. It’s a long way down, and an even longer way up the other side. There is nothing there but rock and pine tree. What happens if you fall? What happens if you get lost down there?
“Why is there no bridge?”
“Because it’s Awesometown. Look how awesome it looks without a bridge.”
“Can I take a helicopter?”
“No. The only way there is the way you make.”
“I’m not going to make it across.”
“The first time?”
“You’re probably not going to make it across the first time,” the old man says. “No one does.”
“So then what? What if I fail?”
The old man looks at you solemnly. “The only way that happens is if you decide to stay here.”
“Wait a minute. If you’re from there, then why are you over here?”
“To let you know that it’s possible.” Then he turns into a hawk and flies away into the sunset. Because, you know, Awesometown.
Make no mistakes about it and do not get duped by anyone who says there is an easier way. There isn’t. Failure isn’t something that keeps us from success. It is not an obstacle nor a hurdle to overcome. It is the way.
That sounds like a cheesy motivational poster but that doesn’t make it any less true. I am completely convinced that those who experience the greatest success in life, those who live in Awesometown, don’t get to do so because they have potential, because they’re smart, or because they get lucky. No, they get there because they are stubborn. They persevere through failure and aren’t scared to fail again. And again and again, if needed. Awesometown awaits for those who never give up.
I want you to know that I say this as a current resident of Fail Rapids. I’m currently submitting query letters to agents for my newest project. For the most part, I measure success in this endeavor by the number of times I was not rejected that day. Lately, I haven’t been having much success, but I could never stop trying. There’s comfort to be had in other places, but I want to raise my family in Awesometown. I do not know the path, but as a person who has failed again and again but keeps trying, I know the way.
I will get to there eventually. I will look stoically over from the far side of the canyon, happy to have made it to the other side. Also, I will have a pet hawk named Humphrey, because that is awesome and I’ve earned it.
See you there someday, Blue.