Greetings Fellow BookNerds,
As I continue to read my way through the Mistborn trilogy, I have come to the realization that these books contain what I think are some of the best literary quotes… heck, the best life quotes, of all time. With every page I read, my own yearning to write grows, in the hopes that I can tap into the deepest recesses of my imagination and pull out something as brilliant and thought provoking as what Sanderson has managed to create.
This quote, from Sanderson’s “The Well of Ascension“, really spoke to me as someone who has chosen to follow the writers path, which today is highly competitive and difficult to get into. At times, it feels a lot like drawing lots; sometimes you’ll get lucky with a big break, and other times you’ll encounter failure after failure after failure. You pretty much need to have a will of steel, otherwise the continual rejection could become a rather daunting, impassible wall.
However, if we were to succeed at everything on the first try, then we would be missing out on the thrill and satisfaction that comes from giving something our all until we finally succeed. This feeling is summed up very well in the following quote:
“It’s easy to believe in something when you win all the time…The losses are what define a man’s faith.”
As I read this quote, I’m reminded of when I used to play badminton with my siblings when I was little. It was, and continues to be, one of my favourite sports of all times – yes, it is a sport, all of you out there who don’t see it as such – but there was a time when I wanted to give it up altogether. Whenever I played against my siblings, I did pretty damn well, and when I found out that my school was holding tryouts for the badminton team, I was convinced that I would be able to get on it, no problem. My own confidence surprised me, since I’m probably one of the least confident people I know, yet I had a pretty good feeling about my odds.
As I’m sure you can guess, I didn’t make it. In fact, during the tryout matches, I lost every single time, and I was shocked. How could that be? What did I do wrong? Am I really not as good as I thought I was? All of these questions whirled around in my head as I dragged myself back to class, my shoulders slouched by the weight of my failure. It was one of the worst moments in my life… and yet, I have absolutely no regrets.
The following year, I decided that I was going to tryout for the high school baseball team, but unlike with the badminton fiasco, I worked hard to hone my skills, practicing every day after school, and not making the same mistake of putting the cart before the horse. I reminded myself that there was a chance I wouldn’t make it onto the team, but that I wouldn’t know unless I tried. This time, I achieved my goal, and I honestly believe that I wouldn’t have made it if it wasn’t for my failure to make it onto the badminton team.
I know it’s a rather simple example, especially when compared to the context in which this quote was uttered in the novel – I won’t give away any details, for those who have yet to read it – but I think the meaning is clear: our faith in something, even our own abilities, is strengthened more by our failures than our successes, because if we fail yet our faith remains intact, then that is a testament to how strong that faith truly is.
I would love to hear your thoughts on this quote. Leave your thoughts in the comments below or on my blog’s facebook page, and if you have any quotes of your own you would like to share, I would love to read those as well. Comment away, and as always, keep on reading!