A while back I wrote a blog piece about the highly (and I mean HIGHLY) successful game Temple Run. Of everything I have written on this site I receive more hits to that article than all the rest combined. Here I was thinking people were interested in my unique point of view and clever witticisms when in reality all they want are hints, cheats, and tricks to higher scores. I am duly humbled.
The makers of Temple Run recently issued a sequel to their game. A new skin on an old skeleton, Temple Run 2 is not much more than a rehash/repeat of its predecessor, albeit with souped-up graphics and a couple of new options. Don’t get me wrong, though. I love this game. My addiction to the original having waned, I am flung into the welcoming arms of its descendent at the mere mention of a “Coin Magnet” super power. Hip hip!
But as I race across a never-ending landscape of mountain paths, crumbling fortresses and diamond mines I take pause. Why on earth would I spend any amount of time going over the same ground again and again? I know how it’s going to end, my being impaled on spinning spikes or slamming into a mineshaft beam. Where is the joy in that?
And yet, I can’t but make a comparison between the endless sprint of Guy Dangerous and my own pursuits.
We all like to think that everything we set our minds to will culminate in a joyous and highly celebrated success story. Goal firmly in mind, we soldier through thick and thin only to be crowned victorious at the end and applauded by all for our tenacity, perseverance, and dedication. Yeah, yeah!
Truth is, I find that there is a distinct failure-to-success ratio that shows up when I look back at my many undertakings in life (with the failures far outnumbering the successes). Be they ever hopeful pursuits in work, art, and certainly love, most of these endeavors have wound up impaled on a proverbial spike, or falling off a cliff, or being swept away in a torrent of water, to use additional Temple Run 2 metaphor.
These failures seemingly make up the bulk of what I do, who I am, and what compels me nonetheless forward. My life is a systematic accumulation of failures.
If this all sounds a bit dour, fear not. This is where Temple Run 2 comes back into the argument. As I mentioned earlier, there is no good outcome to playing this game. The best you can hope for is running a little further or gathering a few more coins before dying horribly. And knowing that, what is left is to enjoy the run, and become ever more adept at turning sharp corners or leaping up to grab a precious gem. And indeed, for all my efforts I have come far. Just check out my latest high score for proof.
Picking myself up after failures in life has certainly not prevented me from experiencing more. Any goal pursued with the much-needed gusto to succeed is the very recipe for a spectacular failure. I find that, in fact, the more pigheaded I am about a goal, the greater the likelihood of it all going awry in the most damning way possible. As such, one should celebrate ones existence as represented by the magnitude of ones failures. The greater they are, the more gloriously one must be tackling life itself. And if that’s not a worthy endeavor, I don’t know what is.
If once I cowered away from failure, now I embrace it. Ok, that’s a total lie. However, you have to admit that the sentence doesn’t sound as good when written as, “If once I cowered away from failure, now I mostly just squirm and berate myself for once again making the same mistakes, and when will I ever learn, but oh well what can you do, might as well get on with it, maybe next time will be different, yeah right.”
But I do keep running.