Follow Up

Originally published 6/30/10

I posed the questions for this post in the previous post, and I as I re-read it, it occurred to me that the way we ask questions can prejudice the answer. For example -- one of the questions I asked was (paraphrasing): Can you fail at something and be happy?

Now, I don't want to get into a battle of semantics -- I'm not going to say it depends on the definition of "is", like one of our famous politicians did. However, the word fail is pejorative. Of course, it would be next to impossible to fail at something and for that thing to make you happy. At least if by fail you mean: you suck at it so bad that any layman would look at your performance and say you were terrible. You would finish in one millionth place out of a million participants. Under those circumstances, I don't think I could be fulfilled, although there might be some people that would be happy just due to the joy inherent in the activity.

On the other hand if by fail I was to mean, second best in the world ("If you ain't first, you're last! -- Ricky Bobby), then yes -- I do think you could be happy. Let's say you're the world's second best salesperson, or the the second best writer, or the second best in some athletic pursuit. Sure it would be nice to be the best, but in a planet with seven billion people, if being number one was the only way you could be happy, then we would have a planet full of unhappy people. And despite an occasional pessimistic outlook, I think we can all agree that the world really isn't like that.

That being said, I think I'll continue to accept my middle of the pack running performances as fun, satisfying and happiness producing, thank you very much!