May 26, 2009

Fail With Purpose

Success is going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.
- Winston Churchill
Yesterday, I realized the truth of that quote. With a bunch of fantastic people, I did random acts of kindness in Central Park. We set up a table with a giant Smile Card poster in front of it, hand out cookies (as our random acts of kindness) and direct people towards a board with ideas of how to pay-it-forward. We present ourselves as just a group of friends trying to create a bit of a ripple effect with the random acts of kindness. Now, compared to what people in New York are used to, this is a totally radical idea -- giving away free cookies? No organizational affiliation? Real kindness? Believe it.

Because it was so crazy, only one of every ten or so people actually stopped to hear us out and receive us (which is actually a lot considering the hundreds and hundreds of people that walked by). It is hard to really be open to strangers when there is so many underlying intentions and relative corruption in the world, but those who are open and do stop to hear us out are our successes. We won them over and were able to produce the domino effect from the idea of paying it forward.

Now, the message here is to continue trying. Especially in the beginning of the day, when we're setting up and before the momentum starts to create itself, we fail over and over as people blatantly ignore the offers for cookies and tune out our introductions -- "Hi! We're doing Random Acts of Kindness today, and [walks away]." We can get upset over our failure, or we can keep the smile on and try again. Of course, we chose the latter, and that's what made all the difference.

One of the best pieces of advice I've ever received is to fail, but to fail with purpose. Succeed from failure. It's the only way to get it done.

Happily failing,

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