June 21, 2021

Not everything has a finish line


Our culture is preoccupied with the drama of succeeding and failing.

People are constantly setting up binary worlds that allow each other to think in purely win and lose terms.

That’s why we’re told over and over that failure isn’t an option. That if we fail when nobody’s looking, it’s not really a failure. That if there isn’t an opportunity for failure, it’s not innovative. And that if we fail and life goes back to normal, our story wasn’t worth telling.

But not everything has a finish line.

That’s what first attracted me to yoga. It has no ideal. It’s just wherever you are right now. The cute girl on the mat next to you might be stronger and thinner and more experienced and has those really cool yoga pants that make her butt look like a roasted chicken, but that doesn’t make her better and you worse.

She’s not winning and you’re not losing. No dance is out of step. That’s why they call it a practice.

Krishnamurti once did an interview for a famous yoga journal and said that if you are on the right path for you, you will not think in terms of succeeding or failing. It’s only when people don’t really love what they’re doing that they think in those terms. Another endeavor that pressures people to preoccupy themselves with success or failure is the creative process.

But similar to yoga, in which the only bad class is the one you don’t take; the only failure in creativity is when you stop doing it. There’s no succeeding or failing, there’s just where you are and where you want to go.

Besides, since when did it become possible to fail at self expression? That’s the whole point. You can do whatever the hell you want.

Once you’ve created something, there is no failure because you now own something that nobody can take away from you, which is the person you became by making it.

Screw the finish line. Just enjoy practicing.

How does your preoccupation with the drama of succeeding and failing affect your performance?