Yet it all hinges on whether you are a loser, or not. A failure or not.
Labels such as winner and loser, loyal or traitor, success or failure, honorable or dishonorable, worthy/unworthy, redeemed and unredeemable are on the seesaw spectrum of pride/shame I spoke about yesterday, and also deal with the solar plexus chakra and all its associated organs.
If a plant doesn't fit into a pot anymore, has it failed? Perhaps from the pot's perspective. It's just growth from another perspective.
Success/failure is based on judgment and interpretation. It's a polarity of opposites, just like pride/shame.
It's taken me my entire existence until rather recently* to recognize that failure and success are cultural notions (often based on control), and are woefully subjective. Really, I didn't see that failure and success were perceptions; I'd gone along with the program and believed like most people that they had held some objective truth.
When ten years ago I could not afford health insurance, I became a loser as a health insurance consumer. Plus, an utter failure at the yuppie identity that I had groomed ;) Yet little did I know it would pave the way to learn healing on my own and techniques shared on this blog, so even when I could afford it again, 'insurance' made no sense to me. Another example is when my car failed, I was a loser who couldn't afford a working vehicle. I had to walk or bus everywhere in suburban San Jose. That's how I learned I had neighbors and hosted a tea party for all of us on Sept 11, 2007, that magnolias bloomed on my block, that serene parks and tall sequoias welcomed my footfall, that street art flourished best for pedestrians. It was from that time on when I started valuing walkable neighborhoods, community placemaking and public space. In some strange way, it is as if I were guided to abandon routes that I'd been accustomed to--which definitely looks like "failure" since it doesn't meet any cultural norms--and get mighty curious.
When you see the word "failure" or "success" bandied about (and it happens often in USA), either directed at you or to a project at work, or to someone else in your circle, or even to an authority figure, that would be an opportune time for Ho'oponopono and seeing the pattern of believing in that dichotomy that we all may yet share. They are both sides to the same coin, which is easy to flip. Look within where you feel reactive around the words and the emotional tone behind them. Look within where you feel any kinship with the person's or situation's pattern. Then, silently or aloud to yourself: "I love you, please forgive me, I'm sorry, I love you, thank you."
A better question might be along the lines, "What would you attempt to do if you knew you did not fear the unknown?"
Or poet Pablo Neruda's questions:
How much does a man live, after all?
Does he live a thousand days, or one only?
For a week, or for several centuries?
How long does a man spend dying?
What does it mean to say 'for ever'?
* Here's when I opened my eyes about concept of failure and success being trained into us, and not true. I read about these research studies by Carol Dweck and others that compared children who were praised (or upbraided) for being smart and capable with children that were praised for moving forward, growing, learning and stumbling along the way regardless. Over time, the praiseworthy "capable child" will give up in the face of failure and avoid unknowns to retain their honor, whereas the other children praised for trying are motivated by the chance to explore. See article: "The Effort Effect. According to a Stanford psychologist, you’ll reach new heights if you learn to embrace the occasional tumble," Stanford Magazine, March/April 2007