In Jocko Willink’s book Discipline Equals Freedom, he has a segment talking about the importance of fearing failure.
And I agree.
Bringing this idea into the framework of Eudaimonia, I like to audit myself.
For Physical Wellness, what would failure look like for myself?
Maybe I let myself slip into obesity.
Perhaps some of my life choices invite cancer on myself.
I allow myself to become too weak to either protect myself or my family.
I become unappealing to my spouse.
I die of health problems too young.
For Relationship Wellness, what would failure look like for myself?
I mistrust my spouse to the point they leave.
Perhaps I allow mutually unfruitful friendships to keep rooted.
Maybe I don’t take enough time each week to nourish my relationships with family or my spouse.
For Spiritual Wellness, what would failure look like for myself?
I decide to stop reading the Bible daily.
Maybe I quit pouring gratitude as often as I can remember to.
I make decisions that are in opposition to my faith (sins).
I act in a manner inconsistent with who I aspire to become.
For Financial Wellness, what would failure look like for myself?
I encumber myself with gross debts.
Perhaps I am working into my 60s or 70s at a job I hate. Or worse, forcing my spouse and I to do this.
Maybe I die unexpectedly and only leave a burden to my family.
I fail to retire.
It is good to occasionally scare yourself by reviewing what failure looks like to you.
And then to turn around and ask, “If that’s what my personal failure would look like, how would I act to know ‘what good looks like?’” and then try to act in this way.
Failure is essential.
All failures are our faults and no one elses.
However, many failures can be prevented.
Embrace the failures you do have. Dissect and autopsy them for whatever nuggets of wisdom you can. OWN THEM.
But audit yourself to prevent other failures — especially in the Four Tenets, especially over long time horizons!
Follow for daily philosophical meditations.
These are distillations from my coming book “YouDaimonia: the Ancient Philosophy of Human Flourishing.”
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