This time of year always seems to be a bit tricky in our house, as there always seems to be some sort of test going on, whether it be SATS, or mock SATS, or end of term assessments, thankfully we are a little way off GCSE’s but we all know that they are looming too.
However, sometimes it feels as though life is one long test, we talk about making right decisions, or getting things wrong, or whether we’re a failure as a parent, wife, partner, friend, as though there is some unidentifiable passmark on everything we do. We can be quite clear when we haven’t made the mark, but when pushed none of us are really sure what it is!
I have no doubt that this stems from our experiences as children, when it is so clear to us how we are doing, we know when the adults are pleased with us or not, whether our picture gets put up on the display board, whether we are on the top table, and of course when we get the dreaded results back from that test, we can see clearly whether we have passed or failed.
I can still remember that awful sinking feeling when I hadn’t done well enough, it was as though the world had come to an end and that there were no options left for me.
The truth is now that I am in middle age, none of that really matters, no one asks me what I got in my middle school tests or even in my GCSEs, which is great because I would struggle to remember! However, there have been many times when I have convinced myself that I too, have failed the longer test called life, and have told myself that I have failed as a mum, daughter, partner as well as in my career.
Fortunately now I have a very different view of it, and even on the tests we take as children, to me I relish the opportunity to fail, which may seem a little odd, however I have learnt that there is actually no such thing as failure, even when you are faced with a big fat F in front of you. Some of my greatest opportunities have been borne out of my spectacular failings and I have often learnt far more when I have failed than when I have passed with flying colours.
You see, what I have learnt is that anything that we do, any test, any decision, or any action is simply as step on this journey we call life, it’s not the end result. Often we are faced with things that have gone wrong because there is something that we need to learn, often something that we will need to take forward with us on our next step. We often forget this very important part and are so busy beating ourselves up about how badly we have done, we overlook the opportunity to look for the hidden gem that will change our next experience for the better.
It was Steve Jobs who said ‘You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future.’ it’s one of my favourite quotes, but it’s important to remember that often the most important dots are the ones that maybe we would rather forget, but if when we see through our own personal disappointment there will be hidden an important learning that is essential for us in order to connect with the next dot in our journey.
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