On Black Friday, I picked up the BBC documentary series, Frozen Planet. I have been watching it pretty much on repeat since I got it and one of my favorite things about this documentary is the journey. One of the things I love most about documentaries and even research papers is the honesty that you get from them. This specific documentary does a really outstanding job of giving the viewers an inside of look to all the work that goes into filming a documentary. And beyond that, the failures that come with it. As I was watching the special features yesterday afternoon it really got me to thinking that my generation sort of struggles with embracing the journey of life. We are kind of known for wanting our instant gratification. And part of that can perhaps be a testament to the fact that we get those instant gratifications. Because if you think about it, we go to school from age 4 to … for me 24. So I had 20 years of school. And we get into the routine of being in a quarter or a semester and even a year and at the end of the year you know. You know if you did good enough to pass, to be on the honor roll, to graduate etc. You get that instant gratification. You finish the project in a semester and it is done. But the real world doesn’t function on semesters. And it can take years and years and years to finish a project. It can take many failures to get the right one.
In this documentary, there is a video diary of a guy who was filming ducks. And he really wanted to get footage of the ducks leaving the nest for the very first time and going into the water. The first group of ducks he was filming made their journey when he was away (I believe sleeping), the next set got eaten by a polar bear, and finally on the third set he got it. But not after experiencing the disappointment of him missing the first set and by things outside of his control making him miss the second set.
Documentaries and research papers own up to failures but never dwell on them. Failure is a part of life, it happens. But it doesn’t do any good to dwell on failures. Failures don’t tell the complete story, they tell part of the story – they are part of the journey, not the entire journey. The journey of life isn’t just about instant gratification (although making sure you get some gratification is a good way to keep yourself motivated ahem, small wins anyone). But you reframe your failures into learning opportunities. Figure out what went wrong and move on.