The only real failure in life is your failure to try
Talk about making your moment count.
For those of you not familiar with cicadas, let me provide you with a brief introduction.
A cicada is an insect. There are many different types of cicadas, and they can be found pretty much throughout the world. One type of cicada, in particular, can live up to 17 years!
You may be thinking that a 17-year life span in the insect world is unique. It is, but there is a big catch. All, but a few weeks of their life span, is spent in the ground in a protective shell.
These cicadas are born, typically on tree stems and twigs. They find their way to the ground and immediately burrow deep into the ground where they feed on the liquid in plant roots. They then form a protective shell and remain in a dormant state for 17 years. In that seventeenth year, when the ground has sufficiently thawed, they emerge and shed their shell.
Once they are back on the surface and free of the ground and their shell, their sole focus is to find and attract a mate and then procreate. Soon after their mission is accomplished, they die.
These cicadas spend their entire lives preparing for one moment and, shortly after that moment occurs, their life is over.
As tragic as that may sound, let’s consider the cicadas that wait it out underground for all that time and successfully emerge into the above ground world only to be eaten by a bird before they are able to enjoy their moment and fulfill the sole purpose of their long, long wait.
Fortunately, our lives are structured a little differently and the opportunities to experience special moments are typically abundant and varied. The key word being opportunities. In other words, experiencing significant moments and fulfilling the related purposes isn’t promised to anyone.
A 17-year cicada literally waits its entire life for one moment that may never happen, but every aspect of its existence is designed to experience that moment and extend the life of the species for another generation. That cicada has no way of knowing whether all of that time underground will be worth the wait or if it will ever feel the liberation of shedding its shell and spreading its wings.
We, on the other hand, have daily opportunities to seize the moment, experience great joy, and accomplish something of significance. The question is whether we are prepared when that moment arrives or if we are even thinking about those opportunities in the first place.
Cicadas have one purpose and one shot to fulfill that purpose. They are ready for that purpose no matter what the outcome.
We have multiple purposes and typically many chances to realize our potential, but how many of us are ready when our moment arrives and how many of us realize our full potential on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis?
What do you think you would be capable of accomplishing if you were somehow able to develop that type of singular purpose and dedication to a cause of your choice? The fact that we are developed beings with a brain, emotions, and the ability to reason is both a blessing and a curse in this case.
Cicadas have no brain, no emotion, and the power to choose doesn’t exist for them. They are simply beings created for one purpose and that purpose is innate within every individual cicada. These facts actually make their task simpler.
Our brains and the emotions we experience are generally what separate us from other animals…and opposable thumbs. But, in the case of focus and purposeful action, they can get in our way. Cicadas cannot overthink their sole purpose nor can they worry about what may happen if they fail.
Our objective, then, is to use our power of choice wisely, identify our priorities, and then set just as purposeful of a course toward the realization of our goal as the cicadas do.
One of the many great things about life is that there is never a shortage of choices and worthwhile endeavors to focus on. When you find your cause, priority, or goal, your job is to deliberate, but not to over-deliberate. Then, channel your emotion in a manner that is supportive of your effort and goal, not to undermine your decision-making process and cause doubt.
When you do those things, you’ll be on your way to fulfilling your purpose(s) and if you ever feel your determination waning, think about those cicadas and carry on!
The only real failure in life is your failure to try.