Failure in Life : Camino de Santiago : Overcoming Failure
What happens when things get tough in your life? When you feel like a failure in life? Do you give up? When I ask you if you give up I’m not talking long-term. I’m thinking about when you have a really tough day. A day you would much rather forget than mull over about how bad it was. You’re likely thing from a single perspective such as a hard day at work.
What happens when that tough day is challenging from a multi-functional perspective—physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually?
A couple of years ago I walked 800 kilometres across northern Spain on the Camino de Santiago. It was one of the greatest experiences of my life and I’m very proud of my accomplishment.
Camino de Santiago : Overcoming Failure, Day 1.
It was my very first day of Camino de Santiago walk that was to become the hardest day of my life and it could easily become a failure in life.
The walk started in St Jean Pied de Port, a small town in the Pyrenees in southern France. The walking route winds its way 25 kilometres into the mountains rising to over 1450 metres above sea level. The path then drops down 500 metres to the beautiful medieval monastery of Roncesvalles.
This is an arduous day’s walk, it’s relentless with no let-up——it’s up, up, up all the way.
On the day I walked, the weather started out as a beautiful day only to change around midday. Not only did I contend with the steepness of the climb, but also140 kilometre per hour gale force winds. Add to the head-on winds heavy intermittent rain and things become critical. At times the wind was so strong, other pilgrims were blown over. I later learned that a woman injured her arm and others were ferried off the mountain after the road was closed.
There’s always a question in times like this of quitting. Normally I would think about quitting but that day, there was nowhere to go. There was nowhere to quit too, only the monastery somewhere ahead.
I’d like to ask you. If you found yourself halfway through a journey or experience like this, what would you do? How strong are you physically and mentally?
More importantly, what internal story would you tell yourself and would your internal story result in a failure in life?
It’s your internal story that gets you though your day. Your internal self speak is what controls whether you’ll have a fantastic day or a gloomy, out-of-touch day.
While I was walking the Camino that day, I could have told myself “I can’t do this, I’m too tired, too fatigued.”. But I don’t ever remember thinking that. I just knew that I had to plug on and get to Roncesvalles, even if I arrived at 10 pm at night (I arrived at 5 pm). As that day panned out failure ceased to be an option. Overcoming failure was the only option.
Just to set the record straight in case you think I’m some special athlete or walker. I’m not, I’m no athlete. I’m over weight and not that fit although prior to the walk I did practice for the Camino de Santiago. As things turned out that day, no amount of practice would have prepared me. This was a total ‘mind’ thing.
You’ll never know when you’re about to have a really tough day because they sneak up on you. You can never prepare for a collection of unforeseen events that will make a day really stressful. What you can do is watch your thought process during that stressful, arduous day.
Action Plan for Overcoming Failure
Here’s what you do.
Try saying this….
“Yep, tough stuff; but I can do this; I can think through this, I may not like it, and I’ll do it anyway!”
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