Another Failure 6/21/22

News with Richard Bleil

So apparently, I’ve not been making enough sales with my consulting job for them to keep me on the team.  I tried working with a company that sells (excellent) kitchen wares, and today I was told that at the end of the month, unless I make some sudden sales, I’ll be cut.  It’s not really surprising, though.  For the most part, this well-known company works with parties, and in the past year and a half, I’ve managed to book a total of three of them, only one of which was successful (although it was massively successful).  I love cooking, and I love their products, but I guess I’m just not cut out for sales or this kind of position.

I don’t blame anybody but myself.  My temperament is wrong, I know.  But it stings to have yet another failure to my name.  It brings back to mind the plethora of other failures in my life, something that I’m really dwelling on tonight.  I call them my demons, and their voices are excessively loud today.

It’s human nature to dwell on failures.  When I taught, I could have a hundred glowing student recommendations (and often would), but the ones I took home with me to dwell on at night for the next several months were the negative few.  The failures always sound so much louder than the successes. 

I’ve written before that the two loneliest times for a man alone are when things go horribly wrong, and when they go tragically right.  Having a success with nobody in your life to help celebrate is very lonely.  It’s a tragic reminder of your lot in life.  But when you have a failure, it’s somehow not just that you have nobody to help you recover.  At least with a success there’s a good reason to celebrate, perhaps with a special meal or frivolous purchase of yet another lens for your camera.  Or gun.  But when you have a great success, you don’t take the past successes with you to bed.  The bed just feels even lonelier than normal.

Tonight, I won’t be in bed alone.  It’ll be overcrowded with demons from my failure as a dean, from my failure as the director of a forensic lab, and even as a failure as an adjunct professor.  My friend, meaning well, paid me a compliment of how much I have to offer, a compliment that drifted off into the loss that I can no longer share them.  These failures have a new friend tonight.

So, what now?  I’ve never known how to quiet those voices or placate my bruised ego.  No doubt they’ll have an accepting ear to whisper into.  Maybe I need to do something better, though.

Thanks to the encouragement of my friend, I can jump into my unfinished textbook on statistical thermodynamics.  It’ll be interesting if I can adopt it for a general audience rather than college students, and I truly hope that both people who will read it will learn something.  Plus, I have a project on criminal behavior predictions that I can jump into.

Often, when I’m down, I will bury myself into work.  At least back when I had work, although today, once again, the issue is that I have no work in which to bury myself. 

This summer, my bucket-list goal is zip lining.  Maybe I’ll do that in the next couple of weeks, assuming the temperatures drop and become less stifling.  I’ve obtained my scuba license, taken pilot lessons, been downhill skiing, and even jumped out of a perfectly good airplane.  Time to zip line. 

Everyone fails.  Everyone.  But if everyone fails, why does failure feel so lonely?  One of the principal goals of this blog has always been to be open and honest, so anybody going through something similar to one of my trials won’t feel so alone.  So, if you’re struggling with success, you’re not alone.  Thomas Edison asked why he failed so many times before successfully creating a practical lightbulb (no, he didn’t invent the lightbulb, he just created the first practical one).  His response was that he didn’t fail a hundred times, but rather, he learned a hundred ways to not make a lightbulb. 

Here I am, in my final year in my fifties.  This time next year, I’ll be struggling with some new crisis or goal as a sixty-year-old.  Let’s be honest.  Age does make things more difficult, but it’s not the end.  Only the alternative to aging can truly stop you.  I just heard that the most common age for a man to have an affair is in his seventies.  I can’t even imagine who would want to have an affair with a seventy-year-old man, but the way I figure it, I only have ten more years when I can claim that I’m married so I can get into an affair.


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