“Failure’s hard, but success is far more dangerous. If you’re successful at the wrong thing, the mix of praise and money and opportunity can lock you in forever.”
This quote is from Po Bronson. I found it on the side of one of my many Starbucks cups one day. It struck me, but I didn’t really think about it. I saw it over and over again. Countless times. I must have memorized it because while thinking about my life recently, I remembered it. It made me stop and think. The first part is obvious. Failure is hard. No one enjoys failing. At anything. Failure usually brings feelings of worthlessness and the sting of not being good enough. Everyone longs to succeed. To be needed. For if you are successful at something, people will seek you out to accomplish or perform it. Yet, succeeding is dangerous. Why? Because you could be succeeding at the wrong thing. Just because you are good at something does not mean that you should pursue only that thing. You could be missing the opportunity to pursue other dreams and be successful at something you may really love and enjoy and be passionate about.
Take my life, for example. I came to college as a piano performance major. I was good. Really good. I was a state finalist in competitions throughout high school. I won awards. I gave a solo senior recital. I was one of the top pianists in my freshman class at BG. I was told I had limitless potential. However, it was the wrong thing for my life. I am not supposed to be a concert pianist. Yet, I found myself trapped in it. Piano became my life. Until I permanently injured my right wrist. Suddenly, it was all over. The pain of losing it still hurts. I cry because I miss piano sometimes. However, when I was forced to pursue something else with my life, I found freedom. I was no longer tied to piano. I could explore an endless variety of opportunities. Naturally, I once again steered clear of anything that I knew I would fail at doing. While searching, I became really involved with my campus church. I decided to pursue vocational ministry and go on staff once I graduated. However, this too is not the right thing for my life. I’m good at it. But it is not what I am supposed to do. I’m still unsure as to where I am going with my life. What I’ll be doing. I am dreaming though. I want to write. I want to love people. I am interested in protecting human rights. I’ve thought a lot about editing. Who knows what I’ll do. I certainly don’t. All I know is that I can be successful at a lot of things, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that any of them is right for me. I’m just going to continue to pursue my dreams and desires. I’ll find what I am supposed to do along the way. Maybe I’ll do a variety of things. . . I am a wanderer after all. . .