• Eric "Aspen" Marley

Success and Failure: Woody, Buzz and The Owls

An insecure person is afraid of failure. They can’t take one more hit to their self-perception, so they avoid it all costs.

This is understandable, but not helpful. Because unless they can OVERCOME their insecurities, they won’t seek real challenges. And unless we not only seek but EMBRACE real challenges, especially today, we won’t grow in the ways we need to grow in order to survive. It’s literally becoming an existential crisis.

My Dad always told me, “Success breeds success.” I think he heard that from his Dad. Or maybe Sterling W. Sill, who wrote, “The Laws of Success,” about 60 years ago. Whatever the source, it feels true. Better yet, it has played out that way in my own life.

In, The Owls, we attempt big things and learn how to fail.

Wait… what? I thought you said…

Yes, you read that right. We learn how to fail. But we do it in healthy ways – ways that aren’t tied to self-worth.

In our program, we make sure that there are ample opportunities for “wins” - or success - every single day. For instance, we make our beds within 15 minutes of rising. We “Find Our Why” before we ever get out of bed in the first place. We state the Owl Code, and Motto. These are all easy wins that precede the more challenging tasks of the day.

Tasks that are designed to make us fail… at first.

When we attempt difficult things, things that are beyond our initial capabilities (like higher standards), we aren’t going to hit the mark every time. We’re still weak in those areas. We haven’t established a habit of success in those areas.

Yeah, I make my bed every morning, without fail. But am I meeting new standards of Integrity during the day? That might be another question.

But because I know I can succeed every damned day in something – even if it’s just making my bed - I know I can eventually succeed in anything. The small successes help to heal my self-esteem issues. They don’t cure all of them, for sure. We have counseling and/or ceremony available for that (or will have). But those small wins help me to be more comfortable with myself while I attempt to raise my vibration and standards of behavior.

In “Toy Story,” Buzz Lightyear claims he can fly. Woody disagrees. Woody, in this case, is a bit of a hater. Many of us have that guy living inside us, somewhere. A nice guy, very popular, but also a tad insecure about his self-worth. Buzz, on the other hand, is all about self-worth! In fact, he’s apt to ignore reality in order to experience it. So, when Buzz “flies” all around the room and then gracefully lands back on the bed where he started, he claims that he’s proven his ability to fly. Woody disagrees.

He tells Buzz, “That’s not flying! It’s falling with style!” It turns out that both are right.

In, The Owls, part of our daily routine is an assessment of how we did against the 10 Aspects of the Owl Code. During that self-analysis, we don’t concentrate on the wins only, like Buzz. Nor do we acknowledge only the losses, the ways we fell short during the day, like Woody. Instead, we try to reconcile our inner Spaceman and our inner Cowboy: we give a nod to the wins, and then plan on how we can do better tomorrow.

This process acknowledges our current limits in healthy ways. Because only in this way can we begin to overcome our limitations.

If we don’t give up, if we don’t get intimidated by our losses on our way to success, we become stronger. We get better at living according to higher standards, if that’s our goal. I’ve seen this in my own life. It really works. By making it ok to fail in my attempts at reaching higher standards, I’ve become more apt at reaching them because I don’t give up. I don’t give up because I know I can succeed. Why? Because I make my bed. I find my why. I state the Code, etc.

The Owls is not an easy path. But I submit that easy paths, seeking comfort over strength, are what got us to the place we are in the world. In a word, underperforming.

And, as a culture, we’ve become satisfied with it.

When we decide to push ourselves to new heights and higher standards, when we decide that these are the only acceptable ways to live, we’ll get there. The Owls is one way. If you need greater accountability and a set of higher standards, get in touch. You’ll be required to sacrifice your comfort. You’ll be required to fail. But through that process, I guarantee you that you’ll get in the habit of winning, too.

And you’ll be a better person for it.

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