My Failures

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How many times have you failed at something? One, two, maybe three times? More? Have you ever compiled a list?

I was reflecting on this today after my boss sent me a joke loosely based on reality. We’ve all failed at something; be it a project, a relationship, a resolution or even a Sunday dinner.

I thought I’d compile a list of things I’ve failed at so far (I won’t list them all), explain why I think I failed and what I’m doing about it.

Speaking French: My parents are French Canadian, so it’s in my blood. We moved from Northern to Southern Ontario when I was very young, French was rare. Eventually a French school opened, we were enrolled, picked up a little bit but the school yard preference was still English, so were my friends. Now that I’m older, and a little wiser, I realize the importance of a second language. I’ve tried Berlitz, Rosetta Stone and most recently the Pimsleur approach. So far none have them have worked. Why have I failed? Easy… there are no consequences to failing. If I can’t speak French, my colleagues will just speak English. I need to set aside time, take it seriously and do it for ME.

Playing the Guitar: I chose the self-learning method. Reading books and watching videos. I was able to play part of one song; Every Rose has it’s Thorn by Poison and not that well. I just didn’t practise enough. I still have it and still want to learn to play so I’ve set a goal of learning an entire song… someday.

White water Kayaking: A recent failure. I’ve wanted to try this for a long time. Even tried to find someone to join me on the journey but had no luck. Set a goal to take some lessons in 2013 but never got around to it. Set another goal to take lessons in 2014 and even bought an old kayak. I did take the course and it was one of the few times I’ve felt that maybe I bit off more than I could chew. It was much harder than I thought and I was disappointed with the result. I haven’t given up though, I’d like to try again with a group of friends… maybe this year?

Sunday Dinner: I usually make dinner on Sunday nights. They always seem fine to me but my son and his girlfriend always find something a little ‘off’. In fact, I think it’s their mission to find something wrong. I used celery leaves once and never heard the end of it. My failure here is listening to them in the first place. I’ll order pizza next Sunday.

GTD (Getting Things Done): A popular method used by a lot of people to complete tasks. I read the book, purchased an app and even pinned up a little poster in my office. It didn’t work for me. I’m one of those people who gets tied up in knots over their email inbox. I’m a slave to it. Until I get my inbox under control I’m doomed to failure on this one. My goal, tame the inbox by mid-year.

Healthy Eating: Everyone wants to eat healthy but the other stuff just tastes so good. I thought a good approach might be to take this in baby steps starting with my good friends butter and potato chips. It worked for a while but I’ve stumbled a bit. The only thing I have going for me is that I’m active. Spinning three times a week, weights a couple times, soccer once a week and biking in the summer. A lifestyle change is what I need or maybe a goal? I’d like to see my abs someday… just one or two at first.

Playing the Harmonica: I’m partial to songs that use the blues harmonica so thought it might be fun to learn. It’s a cheap instrument, available in most music stores. Mine came with a book. I learned a few songs but it seemed to me I wasn’t getting any better. Like the guitar, I’d still like to learn how to play some day. I just need time and patience. Maybe while sitting in the daily traffic jam.

Photography: I’m into photography, love taking pictures and sharing the good ones with family and friends. But to really get into it you need to learn what your camera can do. I have a Nikon D90 and a Fuji X100. Two very good cameras with lots of features that I haven’t come close to mastering. I’ve read books, watched videos and even joined a Flickr group or two. Like most of the failures above, I need to focus and set a goal.

Microsoft Excel: I use Excel at work quite a bit, in fact, it’s considered THE tool of choice to create reports, dashboards and to analyse data. I’ve taken basic to advanced level courses and actually enjoyed it. I’ve only managed to use the basic and intermediate features while my peers are performing miracles! I need to concentrate on a few features at a time, master them and move on. Pivot tables… here I come.

Resolutions: New Year’s resolutions… need I say more?

I debated whether or not to publish this post. Kind of depressing and not something that fits well in this space. In the end though, I figured maybe by putting this out there, I might be shamed into changing my ways.  We’ll see…

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