Reclaim The Throne
With this being the inaugural post for the Educ8 blog, I felt it appropriate to touch upon a subject that has plagued all of us at some point or another in our lives.
I read that Thomas Edison struck out at least a thousand times before he invented the lightbulb. Walt Disney was fired from his editor because, “he lacked imagination and had no good ideas.” Albert Einstein didn’t utter a single word until he was four years old. Vincent Van Gogh sold a total of one painting during his lifetime. All of these recognizable historic figures have one thing in common….FAILURE!
So the other day I was feeling nostalgic and decided to watch The Lion King. Now before you get all Judge Judy and chastise me for being a male in his late 20’s watching a children’s movie. Just remember that The Lion King is both timeless and classic which, in turn, causes all judgments passed to become null and void. (Sidenote, I promise there is a point to my nonsensical and discombobulated rambling)
Anyways, there I was sippin’ on a nice merlot, nibbling on what the “expert” at my local grocer exclaimed to be an obnoxious amount of cheese, when a particular scene caught my attention. At first I didn’t understand its significance. I had watched this scene thousands of times. However, this time, it was different. My eyes were seeing something completely new. It was resonating with me on a deeper level.
So one night Simba’s walking through the jungle minding his own business. You know just chillin’, eating grub, strutting across waterfalls and stuff. Then out of nowhere Rafiki starts pelting Simba on the head with I don’t know, fruits I think. Simba’s all like, “wtf bro!” While Rafiki, the crazed baboon, dangles from a branch chanting at him incomprehensibly. Long story short, they talk it out, Mufasa provides some much needed fatherly advice from the beyond, Rafiki bashes Simba on the head with a stick, and they go to reclaim the throne that Simba had once abandoned.
When the movie was over I sat there wondering why that scene kept replaying in my head. Then it dawned on me. I no longer saw Simba. I saw myself. I no longer saw a crazed baboon throwing things at will. I saw failure. Failure is said to be one of life’s greatest teachers. Rafiki is the perfect portrayal of that teacher; a baboon that taunts you from atop a tree, throwing things at will, swinging from branch to branch singing, “asante sana squash banana, wewe nugu mimi hapana.” Which, by the way, I’m sure really translates to, “you suck, you suck, bananas are awesome, you suck, you really suck!” And sadly, on all accounts, he’d be right. Bananas are awesome and failure makes you feel like you suck.
Thankfully, behind all those whacky antics, there is a lesson to be learned. Rafiki, like failure, helped bring light to the things Simba feared. Just like Simba, we all have struggles we try to run away from. There are obstacles we avoid because we don’t feel good enough to conquer them. Instead of letting Simba run away, Rafiki took his stick and literally bashed destiny into him. Once Simba found purpose, there was no stopping him.
Now back to my main point. Every successful person has had their share of Simba-esque failures. “The Red Vineyard at Arles” by Vincent Van Gogh, the only painting he ever sold while living, was purchased by his friend’s sister for 400 francs. Convert that to USD and you’ll end up with around 430 something and some change. That’s less than the smart phone you’re more than likely using to read this. Van Gogh’s art saw little to no critical acclaim during his lifetime. But do you think that stopped him from painting over 900 works of art? The answer to that question is a resounding…HELL TO THE NO!
The truth is, we are all going to fail in life. Sometimes those failures are miniscule, sometimes they are monumental. It’s what we learn from those failures and the steps we take after understanding those lessons that promotes greatness. Perseverance is defined as steadfastness in doing something despite difficulty or delay in achieving success. No matter the obstacle, we must maintain diligence in our pursuit of passion and purpose. It was Abraham Lincoln who said, “I walk slowly, but I never walk backward.” So walk. Crawl if you must. But never stop trying to get there!
Educ8 Writer Ordinaire