You know how when we're kids we're encouraged to eat dirt to build up our immune system, making it stronger so it can fight back against all of the sickness inducing bacterium? Our immune systems are dramatically influenced and shaped by exposure to microbes throughout life and we kind of adapt as we go along. Don't worry, this is about as scientific as I'm ever going to be, but I found a neat correlation between this whole Let Them Eat Dirt! phenomenon and our individual pursuit of our dreams.
The other day I received an email from my dad with a quote from the astute Winston Churchill, tagging it as words his young sprogs should live by: “Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.”
In essence: Eat dirt! Then you'll be stronger to tackle what comes next.
I know that these words came to Mr. Churchill during a time of national and global distress, but they also carry a certain weight when applied to our individual struggles. Sometimes we are too scared to get messy, to really let ourselves be vulnerable, opting instead to live passively simply because of this invisible lingering fear of failure. What if we put all of ourselves into something, and we fail? Ah, the adverse effect of what if, a question that loads negativity and propels insecurity forward.
Creative ideas and businesses tend to grow in familiar soil - the dirt of failure. We all get a little messy sometimes and stumble (eat pavement) on the way to our dreams. Accepting that no one is immune to failure pushes us to create solutions to our problems and challenges us to hold onto those positive specs of scattered hope. Just know that when all else seems lost, there are still things to hold on to, like the other people who are equally confused and feeling out of place. We are all right where we are supposed to be. I like to believe that this initial disorder, which at first glance highlights our own inhibitions, will later reveal a new perspective and pave the way for new dreams. Just keep creating. Keep feeding your soul with your passion each day.
However, what if we have the opposite problem. What if we’re paralyzed by our fear of failure that we don’t even have the courage to start? How do we summon that inner strength and fortitude required to pursue our ambitions?
A lot of the time we are introduced to our true selves when we're gasping for air while we’re floundering, kicking desperately to make it to shore. That’s where our desires for something true and authentic starts. Surrounded by dark waves waiting for those bits of light to reflect off of our souls, not just the water, illuminating something that was always there, it just took a while to wash away the dirt.
Keep kicking. Life wants you to fight back. Find the courage to continue. Don't be scared to eat dirt.