Ani Pema Chödrön was invited to give the commencement address to the 2014 graduating class of Naropa University in Boulder, Colorado. Her speech was inspired by this quote from Samuel Beckett: “Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.”
As Chödrön writes: “No one ever knows what is going to happen next. Anything is possible.” I have wanted to know what will happen next to me, to my site, in the world.
As I have shared many times, I wrote once a week when I began We Said Go Travel in 2010. Many people told me again and again it would never work.
As of Jan 3, 2017, We Said Go Travel is listed by USA Alexa at 98,947 which means it is in the top 100,000 websites of the United States of America. The world wide web went from 1 website in 1991 to 1 billion in 2014 with 80,818,367 in the USA. So being in the top 100k means we are the top .12%!
Chödrön recommends that “there is one skill that is not stressed very much, but is really needed, it is knowing how to fail well. The fine art of failing…There is a lot of emphasis on succeeding. And whether we buy the hype or not, we all want to succeed, especially if you consider success as ‘it works out the way I want it to.’ You know it feels good in the gut and in the heart because it worked out. So failing by that definition is that it didn’t work out the way you wanted it to. And [failing] is what we don’t usually get a lot of preparation for.”
Travelers know that things do not always work out. The train is late, the plane is canceled, the hostel you booked does not exist. But the things that do not turn out as you planned can often be the most remarkable part of an adventure.
We just have to remember that what we think might be failure or a “mistake is the portal to creativity, to learning something new, to having a fresh look on things…It’s a little hard to tell what’s a failure and what’s just something that is shifting your life in a whole new direction.”
As Chödrön states: “It was the worst time of my life, and it resulted in a really good life that has a lot of happiness and well-being, a profound well-being pervading my life.” This has happened to me and I did not believe it was possible at the time but life is really turning out fantastic.
Chödrön asks us: “Can you allow yourself to feel what you feel when things don’t go the way you want them to? When things don’t go the way you hoped and wished for and longed for them to go?…Maybe what is happening here is not that I am a failure—I am just hurting. I am just hurting.”
Chödrön shares the advice Trungpa Rinpoche gave her about failure and starting again:
“Well, it’s a lot like walking into the ocean, and a big wave comes and knocks you over. And you find yourself lying on the bottom with sand in your nose and in your mouth. And you are lying there, and you have a choice. You can either lie there, or you can stand up and start to keep walking out to sea. So the waves keep coming,” he said. “And you keep cultivating your courage and bravery and sense of humor to relate to this situation of the waves, and you keep getting up and going forward.” Trungpa then said, “After a while, it will begin to seem to you that the waves are getting smaller and smaller. And they won’t knock you over anymore.”
Are you ready to train yourself to say: “I haven’t done anything wrong; I’m not a bad person. I’m not a failure; I’m not a mess-up; I haven’t blown it.”
Sometimes things do not go your way. Chödrön says: “In your life you fail. It’s just part of life that things will happen that you don’t want to happen. It is part of everyone’s life experience.” The question is what do you do next? Do you lay in the sand or do you get up and keep going?
I love her definition of bravery or courage which is “the willingness to stay open to what you’re feeling in the moment, the willingness to feel what you’re feeling…The warrior is one who cultivates courage and is willing to feel what he or she feels. To be completely human and be okay with being completely human, and the willingness to feel it.”
Are you willing to feel your fear and keep going? Are you willing to take a risk and have it turn out fabulous or will you let fear convince you to never begin?
Chödrön tells us that “when you follow your heart—with a career change, or writing the book, or whatever it might be—there is no guarantee that the whole thing won’t be a total failure, and there’s no guarantee that you’re not going to get criticisms. You’ll get praise and blame is the usual scenario. And you just want to hear the praise and don’t want to hear the blame…The question is, are you going to grow or are you going to just stay as you are out of fear and waste your precious human life by status quo-ing instead of being willing to break the sound barrier?…Are you willing to go forward?”
For our Winter 2017 Inspiration We Said Go Travel Writing Award the theme is: “How travel has changed your Life” Tell us about a place in your life or a place you visited where you took a risk and fought against fear and were willing to grow forward.
Inspiration: How travel has changed your Life
Finding Inspiration: Are you willing to GROW? Anything is Possible
Ani Pema Chödrön writes: “No one ever knows what is going to happen next. Anything is possible.” Sometimes things do not go your way. Chödrön says: “In your life you fail. It’s just part of life that things will happen that you don’t want to happen. It is part of everyone’s life experience.” Are you willing to feel your fear and keep going? Are you willing got take a risk and have it turn out fabulous or will you let fear persuade you to give up or never begin?
For our Winter 2017 Inspiration We Said Go Travel Writing Award the theme is: “How travel has changed your life” Tell us about a place in your life or a place you visited where you took a risk and fought against fear and were willing to grow forward.
Thank you for your participation!
Lisa Niver, We Said Go Travel
Date: Enter from January 9, 2017 to February 14, 2017
Theme: Inspiration: How travel has changed your life
Deadline: Enter by midnight PST on February 14, 2017
Fees: This competition has a $15usd entrance fee. (We want everyone to be able to participate, please apply for a scholarship to enter the award as necessary.)
To Enter: CLICK HERE
1st Prize – $500 usd
2nd Prize – $150usd
3rd Prize – $50 usd
Winners will be selected by our judges and We Said Go Travel Team. Cash prizes will be paid through PayPal in United States Dollars. All winning entries will be promoted on We Said Go Travel.
Publication is dependent on proper use of English language and grammar, appropriateness of theme topic, and being family friendly (G rated). If your post is written in a language other than English, please also send an English translation. Travelers of all ages and from all countries are encouraged to participate. Entries are 500-800 words with 1 photo. You may submit multiple entries. Your article must be an original and previously unpublished piece. All posts, which meet the requirements, will be published on this site, WeSaidGoTravel.com. Void where prohibited.
To Enter: CLICK HERE
A former wilderness guide, Amanda Castleman has published photos and stories in Afar, Outside, Journey, BBC Travel, Sport Diver, Bon Appétit, Delta Sky and The International Herald Tribune, among many others. Her 30-odd book contributions include Frommer’s and National Geographic titles.Now based in Seattle, Amanda has lived in Oxford, Rome, Athens, Cyprus and Turkey. She has taught travel writing since 2003.
Richard Bangs, the father of modern adventure travel, is a pioneer in travel that makes a difference, travel with a purpose. He has spent 30 years as an explorer and communicator, and along the way led first descents of 35 rivers around the globe, he is currently producing and hosting the new PBS series, Richard Bangs: Adventure Without End