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I started out early in my life failing grade one after falling down the stairs and cutting off a good part of my tongue. The report card that I carried home read: FAILED, REPEAT GRADE ONE.

People ask me if I understand failure? After failing at a very early age I learned how to be successful. No meant maybe and maybe meant yes. Every time I failed something it was another challenge to succeed. The first task I learned was not to be afraid of asking for help from knowledgeable people.

It is okay to be afraid of failure. What matters is that you do not let yourself to stop risking and moving forward.

When the baseball pitcher throws the ball when you are at bat with a three balls and two strikes count you can wait with your bat on your shoulder praying for a ball four and strike out or you can swing and maybe hit a home run out of the park.

As a society we do not like to talk about our failures. We have a tendency to only speak of the positive aspects of our lives. However, anything that is worth pursing in life has some risk of failure. We all experience failure at some point in our lives unless you live so cautiously that you might not have lived at all. Lord Tennysonís words are wise : "It is better to have loved and lost than never to have never loved at all".

You should never, ever be embarrassed that you failed. You will never know how much you can achieve without taking some risks and moving outside of your comfort zone challenging yourself to grow. There will be failure along the way. But failure is an essential part of the journey to success.

Looking back in my life cutting of my tongue made me a better listener and failing grade one enabled me to empathize with others and be able to help those in need. Funny how negatives can translate into positives if we but take the time to risk we can then be successful.

Remember that failure does not define your ability to succeed. It is okay to distinguish between being a failure and having experienced failure. Try and surround yourself with positive people who appreciate/ support you in times of need. Everyone will gladly come to your party but often times there are very few acquaintances that are there to support you when you fail.

There is the tale of a Joe from "Tyner Estates", who fell down into a sewer and was not able to climb out. He called out for help and a doctor passed bye and threw down a prescription, then along came a clergy man who said a prayer. In the nick of time before hypothermia took over his friend, Steve who heard the cry and jumped down into the sewer. Joe admonished his friend that: "they were both doomed". Steve laughed that he could be of assistance because he had learned to survive in the sewer and was able to find his way out to get help.

My advise to you is to take risks and make mistakes. We are never alone with our failures and risks that are integral parts of our journey.

Failure is but a detour in our lifeís journey. Never ever stop working to achieve your dreams. Someone tells "you canít." you tell them "to just watch me." Hell, I cut off my tongue and failed grade one and now canít stop talking and writing.

Len Lesser is a counselor in Dorchester

Len Lesser

Len Lesser posts a report every week

You can email Len at lenlesser@hotmail.com