The Lightning Letter

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The Lightning Letter

The Lightning Letter

Failure Isn’t the End of the Road

An essay on the relationship between challenges and life

I enjoy playing overly difficult games in my free time – Particularly the most difficult games that you can find. Those that are supposed to make you give up. Those that give you an almost insurmountable challenge, wanting the most, and often too much from you. But especially those where you only have yourself to blame. They’re challenging, but fair. You don’t blame the game, but yourself, and you know to improve on that.

I don’t think it’s overcoming the challenges that I enjoy about them. When I summit a mountain in Peaks of Yore, a challenging climbing game set in 1887 where any fall can mean a wipe to your progress, I’m thinking about what’s next, and how I’ve improved compared to before. And that’s not to say I don’t like accomplishing these challenges, but it’s not the reason I play them. I enjoy seeing myself grow and get more consistent with the game’s systems, I enjoy the journey.

I rarely get upset with them. I understand that there is only improvement from failure, and all there is to do is try again. Sometimes I try to keep that in mind. But I fail with that too, sometimes.

Sometimes failure to me seems like the end of the road, or that I’ve lost my only chance, that I’ve gained nothing. But I know that failure is supposed to happen, and we can’t succeed at everything in life. Things like failing a test you studied for. Not making it into a college you’ve been interested in getting into. We’re constantly being taught new things, day by day, even if it doesn’t seem like it. We aren’t always patient, and we aren’t always going to do our best, failure is going to happen every day of our lives, it’s a painful truth.

Sometimes, it isn’t even your fault. That’s the worst – when life just goes out of your control. You probably don’t feel like you’ve learned something from it, even if that’s not really the case. Overly difficult games, when I play them, I want them to be a fair challenge. But those are games, it’s fiction, it doesn’t matter. Life isn’t fair. It’s not a game, and it should be taken seriously, with thought, effort, and love.

I guess all I’m trying to convey here is that you learn from what you’ve lost, and you grow from that. Even though life is unfair, it doesn’t mean our efforts are pointless. It doesn’t mean we should give up on our aspirations, and we shouldn’t get caught up in life, either. What happens, happens. It’s better to enjoy life, not as a game, but as an experience. An opportunity.

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About the Contributor
Nathan Smith
Nathan Smith, Staff Writer
Nathan Smith is a senior at JLHS who enjoys art, writing, and reading. He likes to spend his time creating things he thinks others will be interested in.  
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