I’ve failed over, and over, and over again in my life.

Via elephant journal
on Jan 7, 2012
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It’s Friday night.

I’m working instead of going out and having fun or hanging out with someone who cares about me.

Because I love what I do, and what I do isn’t where I want it to be, yet. elephant isn’t good enough. Today, a writer/volunteer editor of ours exploded, leaving disappointed, angry comments about an article that wasn’t sufficiently reviewed or edited in his view. Thing is, we don’t have money for an editor, yet. We’re working on it. This colleague, a gent who is dear to me, sent me (and many of us) a somewhat harsh email about how we might be becoming the National Enquirer of blogs, and such.

It’s the kind of thing that takes the joy out of what I do. For a moment.

Then sweet Maranda of Origin Magazine mentioned that David Lynch had shared an article of ours (for the second time, as it happens) with his legions of followers. Then I remembered Kate and Bob and Andrea and Natalie and Lindsey and Tanya and Tobye and Colin and Reverend Wolsey and Julian Walker and my mom and…our talk show…and our many writers and readers and volunteers. We’ve built something.

It’s made out of love.

It’s not enough.

“You don’t try to build a wall. You don’t set out to build a wall. You don’t start there. You say, ‘I’m going to lay this brick as perfectly as a brick can be laid.’ You do that every single day. And soon you have a wall.” ~ Will Smith

But it’s getting there. And I know where I’m going. I don’t know how exactly we’ll get there. But when we’re huge, able to help the world a little bit, raise awareness on key issues that otherwise might go ignored, like my idols Jon Stewart, or Oprah, or even reddit (which launched an effective boycott of SOPA, last month, getting it into major national news)…

…we’ll be halfway there. With popularity, we must also grow quality. We must be a part of reinspiring journalism in a new media context.

And so when we fail, I remember quotes like the below, and examples like the above. Michael Jordan failed, he reminds us. Again and again. And again. But he cared. And he had a relentless work ethic. And he sacrificed good times and travel and fun for what he cared about most of all.

As he says, below, his success wasn’t borne of talent. It wasn’t God-given. It was the fruit of practice, and love, and effort. Again. And again and again. ~ Waylon, ed.

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” ~ Aristotle

“Obstacles are things a person sees when he takes his eyes off his goal.” ~ Joseph Cossman

You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take” ~ Wayne Gretzky

“We are all faced with a series of great opportunities brilliantly disguised as impossible situations.” ~ Charles Swindoll

“The greater danger for most of us lies not in setting our aim too high and falling short; but in setting our aim too low, and achieving our mark.” ~ Michelangelo

Remember, MJ was cut from his high school basketball team:


About elephant journal

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10 Responses to “I’ve failed over, and over, and over again in my life.”

  1. Ben_Ralston says:

    "A man is a success if he gets up in the morning and gets to bed at night, and in between he does what he wants to do."
    Bob Dylan

  2. Kaharine says:

    In your recent post of an interview with Stephen Cope, I was hit with his comment that we are here to discover our gifts and then bring them to the world, that it DOES NOT MATTER if we succeed. I took that to mean that the effort made to BRING the gifts to the world was success in itself, given that we know we’re here to do a lot more than just exist on this material plane. If you ask me, you have been bringing it since Peggy showed me one of the first paper editions of Elephant which seems like eons ago and that you have been a success every day since then. Bravo.

  3. Kim Roberts says:

    "Go on failing. Go on. Only next time, try to fail better."
    Samuel Beckett

  4. MaryJo says:

    One of my teacher's favorite sayings: "fall down seven times, get up eight."

  5. elephantjournal says:

    First of all, coming from you, means a lot.

    We actually have, thanks to Bob mainly and others, a burgeoning team of editors who are helping a ton. Tanya, in particular, in yoga. But also in areas of wellness (Brent!), green…I'm personally really missing more in-depth, quality Buddhist content.

    There is some misunderstanding–I paid writers when we first transitioned from magazine to web site based on quality/popularity, which was an interesting experiment. And I've been talking for years about doing that again, particularly now, we're working on creating a sort of tip jar where readers can, if an article really means something to them, inspires you, you can give $1 and like a publisher/author relation, that $1 will be split between publisher and author and elephant can then afford a paid editor or two, which I think we need. Right now we still have problems with photos, titles, the occasional clumsy/offensive article, misspellings…it's getting better but still not where any of us need it to be. My dream is to be offering real quality on a level of household-nameness where we can effect the world…change the discussion on climate change, get animals some basic rights, help make the world less imbalanced in terms of income. Major media has always been able to bring awareness to such issues and questions. I always think of Edward R. Murrow, who did popular stuff but also groundbreaking earthshaking journalism.

    So yes, as Kate says, we're still puny staff and money wise and not paying writers. I talk about wanting to, but we haven't yet. ~ Waylon

  6. __MikeG__ says:

    I've noticed that people only complain about lack of editing/oversight at EJ when they disagree with the post. I've never seen anyone give Waylon or EJ grief about editorial standards when they liked what was written.

  7. Almudena says:

    I love you guys!!!!!!!!!!!!

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