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At the Opening of the Year: On Failure, Success, and Sustainable Change, Part 2

Part One, if you want it.

Yesterday, I wrote about my successes, both unqualified and qualified, in 2015.

Objectively speaking, some of my so-called “qualified successes” could also have been called “failures.” I’m okay with that. Though failing is often hard when you’re doing it, it’s rarely the end of the world, and you can usually learn something from it.

I should mention that it’s not always easy to do that — there are few cultural phenomena as spectacularly annoying as the phrase, “Turn that frown upside-down!”

Frankly, sometimes you need to frown for a while. Sometimes you can’t just “turn [it] upside down.” Sometimes you need to feel what you’re feeling, get mad at yourself, or sad or hurt or whatever you feel. Sometimes you need to sit down in the middle of the pathos of human existence and weep, or howl, or scream your fury down the throat of the universe.

After, or sometimes even while you’re still there, you snatch whatever lessons you can from the jaws of defeat and move forward. In the words of Chumbawumba, “[you’ve] got no job, but [you’re] an opera fan.”

Wait, that’s not it. It’s: “[You] get knocked down, but [you] get up again.*”

*Somehow, it seems terribly appropriate that I’m citing a song about being too drunk to walk to the bogs without falling on your face. Egads, what an analogy.

Anyway! Moving right along.

Motivation and sustainable change are among my major research interests — because, while we talk a good game, we really still don’t understand them too well, and they’re enormously important in things like public health and personal growth.

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